The BBC's Future Media and Technology (FM&T) division has put out to tender a contract worth up to£25m to provide the corporation's interactive services.

The five-year contract, which includes responsibility for the iPlayer and “red button” type television services, is worth between£17.5m and£25m and requires the winning bidders to have a presence near the BBC's new base in Salford.

A current two and a half year interactive services agreement with Red Bee Media (formerly BBC Broadcast) runs out this year.

In total, there are four contracts on offer. These are for interactive playout, online publication management, systems management and service desk support.

Bidders can put in for all or one of the four service “lots” but the tender suggests that the preference is to award one contract for all of the required services unless “it proves advantageous” to do otherwise.
Sections of FM&T will relocate to Salford as part of the BBC's planned move to Mediacity:UK. FM&T expects that any future supplier of interactive services will need to “have a level of supplier presence at Salford”.

The closing date for submissions was Monday 3 March. Companies that achieved bidder status will then get the chance to formally set out their proposals. The awarding of contracts is expected to take place in June with implementation by the end of September.

Red Bee Media, which currently supplies many BBC new media services, would not confirm or deny that it planned to bid.

FM&T is the division of the BBC responsible for prioritising and directing all technology investment across the corporation and assisting with the delivery of interactive services to the BBC's audiences.

A BBC spokesperson acknowledged that the interactive services tender process was taking place but said that the corporation could not comment on the deal. She said: “In view of the fact that this procurement is ongoing, we are not able to respond to any additional questions at this time.”