Facilities companies have been given just two weeks to express interest in providing managed post-production and content production services for the various BBC departments that are moving to MediaCityUK in Salford next year.

The high-profile contract, issued by BBC Procurement, is for the operation of more than 50 editing “desks, booths and suites” across the three new BBC North buildings.

Companies have until Tuesday 20 July to express their interest.

A number of facilities company bosses expressed surprise at the short lead time but the BBC said it was “not unusual for specific services like this where we have a defined requirement”.

The facilities are for the BBC’s Sport, Children’s, Entertainment and Religion departments, and include presentation spaces for live broadcast and a multi-platform Sports area with an associated production system.

  • Any contract is likely to run for a period of up to 10 years (with appropriate break points).
  • The contract is expected to be awarded in December.
  • Services will commence May 2011.
  • People skills will be as important to the operation of these facilities as technical skills.
  • The work will require “an enthusiasm for working side by side with BBC production staff, assisting them in finding the optimum production workflows.”

As a result of the decision to tender, BBC North chief operating officer Richard Deverell has emailed selected BBC staff to reassure them that the timeline for the move north will not be affected.

A spokesperson for BBC North said: “The note for provision of operational media services to the BBC in Salford will ultimately deliver the technology to enable the BBC to be a leading content provider in the north-west of England in the digital age.”

Prior to the publication of the tender note it had been widely anticipated within the industry that operational media services for the BBC in Salford would be provided by either Peel Media Services Limited, the company that will operate the MediaCityUK studios block (pictured), or its media services partner Ascent Media.

Peel Media Services is now considered to be among the companies that could pitch for the contract.