The BBC and STV today have agreed to enter into a partnership agreement that will see both broadcasters consider ways of sharing pictures, facilities, training, technology and archive programmes, with both broadcasters keen to consider how they could work better together and so provide better services for audiences in Scotland.
The BBC/STV deal will see both organisations explore collaboration in six areas: news pictures; facilities and resources; training; content and production; archive programmes and online.
On news, both broadcasters will consider sharing some raw picture footage and ‘live’ outside broadcast news resources.
The two sides have stressed that a final agreement in this area would have to ensure that the editorial integrity of both broadcasters would be preserved in any picture sharing arrangement. Exclusive stories and features will not be shared, and plurality or distinctiveness of news provision will not be compromised by any such agreement.
Both will also look at their respective property and resources portfolios across Scotland and will seek opportunities to develop collaborative arrangements in these areas.
Some BBC training materials, such as those developed by the BBC’s College of Journalism, will shortly be made publicly available. Under the terms of the deal between BBC and STV, these and other materials may be shared by both, as may places on in-house training courses.
Both also hope to work together better to support students in the further and higher education sectors, through, for example, work placements and work shadowing.
Joint funding for content development is already a feature of how BBC Scotland and STV collaborate and it is likely that this approach to sharing costs in support of Scotland’s creative economy will continue to develop.
Co-productions and potential joint rights bids will also be factored into discussions between the two.
The BBC is in the process of developing an innovative strategy that will ensure significant amounts of its programme archive will be made available, online, for audiences to enjoy.
Under the terms of the agreement between BBC and STV, both will explore options for releasing Scotland-related archive materials with a view to enabling access, by both, to a range of the materials which each holds.
STV has indicated its willingness potentially to participate in a proposed iPlayer federation. The federation is part of the BBC’s approach to sharing its online iPlayer technology with other public service broadcasters.
While the Memorandum of Understanding between both broadcasters is non-binding, and each has set a number of conditions around its future application, both stress their willingness to investigate a range of ways by which they can work better together, exploiting their mutual strengths and bringing better services to Scottish audiences.
Any final agreements between BBC and STV would be subject to the development of a Service Level Agreement (SLA) and all the necessary approvals before possible implementation.
“These discussions point the way to the future role of the BBC in the wider public service broadcasting sector, both in Scotland and across the UK,” said BBC Director-General Mark Thompson.
“While both broadcasters will maintain their distinctive approaches to the delivery of news and other programme content, it makes sense for both to explore potential synergies and to consider what, sensibly, could be achieved by working more closely together,” he added.
Rob Woodward, Chief Executive of STV, said: “We are building a strong relationship with the BBC and are delighted to have agreed such a wide-reaching partnership deal that is there to better serve our viewers.
“We remain absolutely committed to maintaining our position as Scotland’s commercial Public Service Broadcaster, providing plurality of services for viewers.
“We believe that this partnership will be to the benefit of both our audiences and the creative industry in Scotland.”