BBC radio to be available for downloads

Radio presenters BBC radio received 74m requests on iPlayer during April

BBC radio content will be available for download from 2014, following approval from the BBC Trust.

Listeners can currently stream radio output via iPlayer for up to seven days after broadcast.

They can also download clips and edited podcasts, the latter of which provide access to 6% of original output.

But, for the first time, most radio shows can be downloaded in full from next year.

Users of iPlayer will be able to download radio shows within seven days of broadcast.

They can then store the programme for a maximum of 30 days before listening.

Once opened, the download can be listened to within seven days, after which it expires.

A weekly average of 7,600 hours of new shows will be protected by a digital rights management technology (DRM), which aims to prevent unauthorised redistribution.

One-off cost

The announcement means the catch-up availability of radio shows will be brought into line with that of BBC TV programmes, which have been available for download since iPlayer launched in 2007.

A BBC spokesman said: "We are delighted with the Trust's decision. We will now start work to bring download functionality to BBC iPlayer Radio, a process which we anticipate will take some months yet."

The corporation estimates the implementation of the download availability will entail a one-off cost of less than £150,000.

This will go towards building the technical infrastructure and updating the iPlayer radio app for mobiles, which is available on Apple and Android devices.

The BBC Trust believes the download availability will not have a significant impact on the wider market and has decided not to undertake a public value test.

BBC radio received a record-breaking 74 million requests on iPlayer during April, 84% of which were for live listening.

However total listening hours of UK radio have fallen by 8% in the last decade.

Among 15-24s, average listening times to BBC radio dropped by 17.5% since 2002, and declined by 22.5% for Radio 1.

  • Overall there were 257m iPlayer requests last month, with 30% (75m) made via mobiles and tablets. The funeral of Baroness Thatcher was the second-most requested live TV programme ever on iPlayer with almost 1m requests - 832k of which were for live streams.


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