The BBC has extended Red Bee Media’s contracts to provide playout, metadata and interactive services by 18 months, to give it more time to overhaul the way it broadcasts and publishes content.
The initial 10-year contracts for playout and metadata services, which were signed when Red Bee was spun off from the BBC, were due to end in December 2015.
The contract for interactive services was meant to expire three months before that, in September 2015.
The extensions mean that all three contracts are now aligned and will end together in March 2017.
The BBC has said it wants to move to a “new solution and operating model” from April 2017, and is keen to ensure there is no disruption to its broadcasting operations in 2016, which it described as an “operationally critical year”, with major events including the Rio Olympic Games.
The BBC anticipates a two-year transition to whichever company is awarded the new deals once the extended contracts with Red Bee come to an end.
The broadcaster extended the contracts to give it time to “review the broadcast and publication chains and the boundaries which currently exist between various parts of the operation and those responsible for delivering them”.
In a series of documents that confirmed the extensions, the BBC said that advances in technology meant the potential scope of the services provided by external suppliers could be more than those outlined in the current contracts.
It will continue researching what form those new models could take this year, before a competitive process begins at the start of next year for the award of new contracts for playout, metadata and interactive services.