The BBC is looking for regional PR agencies to deliver geotargeted TV Licensing social media and news coverage.
The deal, which is reportedly worth £2.7 million, will run for three years from 2013. It is believed as many as six agencies will be awarded contracts to deliver TV Licensing PR services in Scotland, Northern Ireland, Northern England, the Midlands and East Anglia, Wales and the South West, and London and the South East.
According to PRWeek: "Included in services required are proactive and reactive media, digital work including Twitter and counsel around crisis management." Crisis management is particularly relevant at the moment, with the mainstream media having recently attacked the BBC for ripping off viewers with unfavourable TV licence payment terms. The BBC has also been criticised for its use of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000, which has been dubbed a "snoopers charter", to spy on suspected TV licence fee evaders.
TV Licensing PR services are currently handled by six regional agencies: Smarts in Scotland; Stakeholder Group in Northern Ireland; Brass across Northern England; Clarke Associates in the Midlands and East Anglia; Fishburn Hedges in London and the South East; and, Quadrant in Wales and the South West.
Representatives of these agencies regularly feature in local news articles under their assumed identity as TV Licensing spokespeople.