BBC Resources and OB fleet of 15 trucks to be sold to SIS; existing personnel to remain

By Ken Kerschbaumer

The BBC has chosen SIS as its preferred bidder for the Outside Broadcasts division of commercial subsidiary, BBC Resources Ltd (“BBC Outside Broadcasts”), subject to contract. BBC Outside Broadcasts, part of the BBC’s commercial subsidiary, BBC Resources Ltd, owns a large fleet of 15 television production units plus sound, support and communications vehicles and award-winning special cameras, and operates out of self-contained premises in Langley. The business supports events from music festivals, drama productions and major state occasions, to Wimbledon, the Olympics and World Cup football.

“SIS offered the BBC a good deal and best value for license fee payers,” says Andy Thornton, BBC project director. “They have shown a real desire to grow the business and have committed to a long-term relationship with the Corporation, securing the future for some of the most vital services supporting BBC output.”

The BBC intends to exchange contracts and transfer the Outside Broadcasts business and staff in the near future.

SIS Chief Executive David Holdgate says the acquisition is a perfect fit with his company’s existing SISLink and sports coverage. “The quality of the BBC’s outside broadcasts is legendary and we are delighted that SIS will be working closely with the talented staff that deliver these services, and will have its part to play in helping them build on that reputation over the years to come,” he adds.

The BBC believes it can continue to build on its strong relationship with the business once it is under new ownership as SIS will provide opportunities for growth and investment that are not available whilst the business is owned by the Corporation, with the stability of fixed-term contracts in place with the BBC.

“It’s time for our business to flourish under new ownership, without the constraints of BBC ownership,” says Mark Tugwell, Director, BBC Outside Broadcasts. “The decision is absolutely right for our business and for our staff, and I’m looking forward to working with SIS to realise our potential.”

As well as delivering a good deal for the BBC, SIS has also given assurances on pensions, and terms and conditions for staff in the Outside Broadcasts business.

Last summer, BBC Outside Broadcasts, BBC Studios and BBC Post Production, which operate under the BBC Resources Ltd banner, were put up for sale. Due to the complex nature of this process the BBC has decided to complete the sale of its Outside Broadcasts business first while continuing discussions for Post Production.

Satellite Information Services Limited (SIS) is a long-established media business and a wholly-owned subsidiary of Satellite Information Services (Holdings) Ltd (SISH). The business focuses on TV production, broadcasting and the provision of live pictures and data via satellite from two key sites in London and Milton Keynes. It is the foremost supplier of television programming and data services to the UK and Ireland betting industry and, in addition, it has long-term, high value contracts with other leading broadcasters, such as Sky and ITV, to provide live coverage of news and sports events, including Formula 1 and Rugby World Cup.

SIS has recently launched services in the United States in partnership with Intelsat, the world’s largest supplier of fixed satellite services.

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