Radio 1 for the ‘head down’ generation

Monday 28 July 2014, 12:05

Ben Cooper Ben Cooper Controller

Tagged with:

Since Tony Hall’s speech last autumn we’ve been thinking further about what Radio 1 on BBC iPlayer means and we now want to share that with you.

If you are reading this on the bus or the train, look around you and see how many people are staring at a screen. Welcome to the HD generation – that’s the ‘Head Down’ generation.

As the Controller of one of our key ‘youth’ brands, whose job it is to engage the next generation with the BBC, I have to answer a rather important question: what does Radio 1 look like on a phone, tablet or laptop?

Radio is far from dead. Indeed, radio listening remains remarkably healthy - each week for example, over 40% of all 15-24 year olds in the UK tune into Radio 1. But they’re not listening for as long; instead spending a lot of their time on their favourite device with YouTube and social media - a challenge shared across the music and radio industries. So, my challenge is to make sure that they ‘bump’ into Radio 1 in those spaces.

Since I became Controller of Radio 1 and 1Xtra in October 2011, our strategy has been summarised by the line ‘Listen, Watch, Share’. Our core focus will always be about making great radio programmes and discovering new music; but we’re now in a world where almost everyone expects to be able to see key moments - and then share them with friends. We can see this from YouTube, social media, fellow music stations and press, who all have a presence online to reach young audiences.  

We were quick to embrace social media to interact with our audience - we have almost 1.8m ‘likes’ on Facebook, just over that many following us on Twitter, and were recognised by Guinness World Records as the first radio station on the planet to have over a million subscribers to our YouTube channel.  As well as YouTube, our visual content can be found on the Radio 1 website and on BBC Red Button and, to a lesser extent on BBC iPlayer - with the platform recently hosting Zane Lowe meets Rick Rubin, as well as a 45 minute One Direction programme presented by Scott Mills, combining an interview, backstage footage and their recent performance at Radio 1’s Big Weekend.

These platforms will all continue to be important for as long as they remain relevant to young people. But we also want to ensure there is a dedicated place for our visual highlights within the BBC – and BBC iPlayer is obviously the natural place for this.

Now that we are reaching young audiences in those third party spaces, it is time to offer an onward route from Radio 1’s YouTube channel into the rest of the BBC.  Our aim is to reach younger audiences that are not engaged with radio in the same way as previous generations, and to develop their relationships with traditional radio where these already exist.

So, subject to regulatory approval, later this year we are proposing to launch a dedicated space in BBC iPlayer for existing types of Radio 1’s visual content.  BBC iPlayer is a natural home for our videos, given that around 25% of 16-24 year olds already use it on average each week.

And how will it look? To start, it may help if I say what it’s not going to be: it won’t be a 24/7 service with a ‘schedule’; it won’t include standalone official music videos; and we have no ambitions to produce traditional TV programmes.

Instead, all of our videos will continue to be related to our broadcast output at Radio 1, with the same distinctive editorial tone and exclusive BBC content.

We will provide a clear place within the BBC where you will be able to see intimate performances from Radio 1’s Live Lounge, key sessions and highlights from live events like Radio 1’s Big Weekend. We’ll continue to film the biggest name guests appearing on our shows, as well as the audience’s favourite features and what are possibly best described as our more random, creative moments - Greg James on a wrecking ball being one memorable example.  We expect much of our viewing to come from Radio 1’s YouTube channel, Radio 1 listeners, and browsing on BBC iPlayer.

The videos on BBC iPlayer will be longer than most of the clips on our YouTube channel and will expire after 30 days when the catch-up window is extended from 7 days later this year. We anticipate that one or two new pieces of visual content will be posted per day, with a peak around coverage of live events like Radio 1’s Big Weekend - as already occurs.

In short, our presence on BBC iPlayer will be a natural extension of us reflecting and celebrating youth culture in the UK. I hope to continue to inform audiences of our distinctive mix of new music, educate through social action campaigns and entertain with our diverse family of presenters, in a new home within the BBC for the HD generation.

Ben Cooper is Controller, BBC Radio 1 and BBC Radio 1Xtra


Tagged with:


Be the first to comment

Share this page

More Posts

Pick of the Pops: Tony Blackburn celebrates 50 years in radio

Friday 25 July 2014, 14:16

George Ergatoudis on Radio 1’s Playlist

Tuesday 29 July 2014, 12:05

About this Blog

This blog explains what the BBC does and how it works. We link to some other blogs and online spaces inside and outside the corporation. The blog is edited by Jon Jacob.

Follow About the BBC on Twitter

Blog Updates

Stay updated with the latest posts from the blog.

Subscribe using:

What are feeds?

External links about the BBC

BBC2 mockumentary W1A to return in 2015 (Guardian)
"Hugh Bonneville’s head of values, Ian Fletcher, set to face corporation’s charter renewal in second series"

EastEnders actor John Bardon has died aged 75 (Evening Standard)
"Tonight's episode of EastEnders is dedicated to John, who will be sorely missed by all those who knew and worked with him."

The BBC remains as committed as ever to new music (Gramophone)

The People's Strictly announced by BBC for Red Nose Day (Digital Spy)
"I can't wait to see members of the public having this amazing opportunity. It mixes fun and fundraising in equal measure."

BBC Radio 3 announces the artists joining its New Generation Artists scheme (Gramophone)

CBeebies schools to open in China as part of BBC tie-up with Popular (CITY AM)

Strictly Come Dancing beats The X Factor in ratings battle (Guardian)
"Simon Cowell’s return as judge on ITV talent show could not lift it above return of BBC ballroom dancing series"

'Andy thinks I'll be terrible' Judy Murray on why she's nervous about doing Strictly (Express)

BBC edits Doctor Who beheading scene after Islamic State journalist killings (Guardian)

Ariana Grande and The Vamps to perform at BBC Radio 1 Teen Awards 2014 (Digital Spy)

Will James Harding be allowed to edit fearlessly at the BBC? (Guardian)

Mary Berry dismisses Bake Off controversy: "What absolute rubbish" (Digital Spy)

How the Great British Bake Off went into meltdown (Telegraph)

From YouTube sensation to BBC One: the story behind Doctor Who's new title sequence (Marketing Magazine)

A BBC Show Won The Most Emmys This Year (Business Insider)
"'Sherlock' took home a total of seven Emmy Awards"

Barry Davies to make Match of the Day return for 50th anniversary celebrations, BBC announces (Mirror)

Is a Female Time Lord in the Future for ‘Doctor Who’? (TV Week)

The future of the BBC: you either believe in it or you don't (Guardian)

BBC Licence Fee is a bargain - something for everyone and just 40p a day (Mirror)
"The BBC’s job is to deliver to you. Not to politicians or the powerful. Some 96% of the population watch, listen or use the BBC every week"

Veteran BBC broadcaster Gerry Anderson dies (RTE News)
"he'll be sadly missed by all of us, but also by all his loyal listeners, for whom he often brought light on dark days over the decades"

Doctor Who gets new online BBC iPlayer series Doctor Who Extra (Independent)
"essential viewing for everyone who’s ever watched Doctor Who and wondered what it’s a like to be a part of the team that brings this global phenomena to our screens"

Last updated Monday 15 September 2014

Blogs from across the BBC

Selected by the About the BBC Blog team.

Amy Winehouse statue unveiled [Arena]
Scottish referendum 'not like a normal election' [5live]
Changing media: E-books and the smooth highway between amateur and professional [Academy]
Starting school: Cerrie's memories [CBeebies Grown-ups]
Watch an interview with Matt Charman, writer of BBC One's Our Zoo [Writersroom]


MatOf ThDay At 50: onic theme even has a banjo [TV]