LONDON--The BBC's TV licensing arm has concluded the review of its multimillion pound PR roster, selecting five agencies and opting to restart the search for a sixth.
The review began last year, as revealed by the Holmes Report, covering six geographic regions. The overall value of the brief ranges from £1.75m to £2.7m.
Grayling is the only new addition to the roster, displacing incumbent firm Quadrant to win PR duties for Wales and the South West.
In four regions, incumbent agencies were retained: Smarts in Scotland; Stakeholder Group in Northern Ireland; Clarke Associates in the Midlands; and, Fishburn Hedges in London and the South East.
Meanwhile, no appointment has been made for Northern England, which was previously handled by Brass. "We did not feel that the bids met our requirements," a TV Licensing spokesperson told the Holmes Report.
"As is best practice, we will be running a second EU procurement process in the region," added the spokesperson. "We are looking into how we can ensure the service continues to be provided in the North region until we appoint an appropriate agency."
The three-year contracts run from 2013 to 2016, and call for a broad range of media relations, stakeholder communications and social media support.
“This procurement has enabled us to recruit the best PR agencies for our requirements and offers excellent value for money for licence fee payers," said Sian Healey, BBC TV Licensing head of policy and communications.
"It’s important for TV Licensing to let people know when a licence is needed and we also run an extensive stakeholder campaign working with a wide range of organisations, including those specialising in money advice.”
The licence fee is used primarily to fund the BBC, and regularly attracts criticism, although public support for the measure has risen in recent years. At present, the BBC's TV licence does not cover online catch-up services such as the iPlayer, an issue that is expected to intensify as more services, including the BBC-backed YouView, reach the market.
Separately, the BBC last week named former Labour culture secretary James Purnell as director of strategy and digital, the first in a series of senior appointments that follow the Jimmy Savile scandal.
Purnell takes on a broad remit, overseeing communications, marketing, audience and public affairs. Paul Mylrea, BBC director of communciations, is to step down.