The Production Competitive Bidding Process

29 November 2017
Guidance on the Production Competitive Bidding Process

Over the past 12 months, the production industry has been rocked by serious claims regarding how production contracts are managed and granted by some agencies.

At the heart of the debate is a clear and relevant concern relating to agencies who are responsible for managing bid processes where their in-house production facility is also bidding.

The issue has received significant attention on both sides of the Atlantic, with investigations by US Department of Justice and challenges from the APA in the UK highlighting the gravity of the situation.


The fallout has resulted in advertisers and the industry at large questioning a number of aspects of the competitive bidding process, namely:

  • Bid Rigging: The key question in the US is whether agencies are forcing third parties to supply fraudulent/inflated bids, known as bid rigging
  • Information misuse to undercut bids: In the UK, the Advertising Producers Association (APA) have called out the practice of agencies are passing on information from genuine bids to their in-house facility to prepare a cheaper bid
  • Fairness: Independent production companies say it is unfair for the agency responsible for the managing the bid process if their in-house production facility is going to be one of the competitive bids received
  • Transparency: Transparency around the process in dispute

While the issue has yet to be resolved, what is clear is the need for more relevant and actionable information.

With that in mind, we have been working closely with our members and producers to understand the issues and provide a platform for both discussion and solutions.

Following a recent ISBA event dedicated to the competitive bidding process, we have produced new guidance, that combines insights from advertisers, producers and agencies and is designed to:

  • Outline the issues and challenges and provide a balanced view of the situation
  • Provide potential solutions and advice for clients
  • Equip members with the information required to have knowledgeable dialogue with their agencies

The guide is available for all ISBA members. Contact us now for your copy:

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For more information on this issue, please contact Traci Dunne.

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