Today I'm delighted to announce the launch of Radioplayer.
Radioplayer is the culmination of a successful partnership between the BBC and Commercial radio to provide consumers with an attractive proposition for easy online radio listening and an easy-to-use application that allows quick navigation between stations and search function across radio stations online.
I've been asked many times about the future BBC plans for online Radio, on this topic it is worth referencing Daniel Danker's previous post.
So what does Radioplayer mean for BBC online radio listeners? Quite simply whether you navigate from the Radio network sites or from BBC iPlayer if you use the existing pop up console, you'll have a new console with some great enhancements! There are no changes to how you consume Radio in BBC iPlayer, so if you prefer to listen in page you'll be pleased to hear that option remains.
The Radioplayer console
The previous version of the BBC radio console was designed against three key principles;
simplicity, discoverability and personalisation.
Throughout the BBC's relationship with the Radioplayer partners it has been hugely important to ensure we built upon these principles.
We thought the best way to do that was by delivering a consistent user experience across BBC and Commercial stations, yet ensuring we have a framework for BBC, and indeed Commercial, stations to innovate and express their unique identity. This has been realised through enabling:
• Industry wide UK radio station presets
• Simple and consistent player controls
• Pan industry search allowing audiences to discover and switch between stations
• Establishing a framework for presenting supporting content
The Radioplayer preset
BBC and Commercial radio station presets
The Radioplayer partnership has enabled the BBC to extend its existing Station preset functionality, as of today you can now discover and save your favourite radio stations and programmes and seamlessly switch between BBC and Commercial networks. Over the coming weeks numerous new stations will be joining the partnership.
Same size, same media player...
The BBC UX&D team led the Radioplayer partnership in defining an agreed set of design guidelines, that outlined the size of the console, interactions and the simple media player controls. For the user this means whether they are using a Radioplayer console to listen to BBC Radio 1, Xfm, Absolute Radio or Juice 107.2 they will have a familiar experience.
A single place to discover UK radio
In February Paul Clark wrote about partner linking in iPlayer for TV broadcasters , with the launch of the Radioplayer, online listeners can similarly discover and switch to radio stations and programmes from across the UK. The common metadata and search functionality mean regardless of whether you are listening to BBC Radio 4, Capital or Smooth the results returned will be consistent.
Search is a feature that will experience continued refinement, as partner metadata improves and algorithms evolve the accuracy of results. By its very nature a degree of serendipitous content will also surface offering audiences the ability to quickly discover unfamiliar and new content.
For those interested Radioplayer search has been built upon the new Radioplayer metadata specification a result of the collaboration of industry metadata experts
Supporting content and innovation
While it was important for Radioplayer to offer a consistent user experience, none of the partners wanted to stifle innovation or restrict brand identity. As such ¾ of the real estate is available for stations to customise.
Our audience research clearly highlights that first and foremost online radio audiences want to listen. However, they consistently expressed the need to discover more about BBC programmes and quickly find and share content.
The team delivering the BBC Radioplayer console have continued to keep this in mind, and as such focused on improving how we surface supporting information, including improvements to the favouriting and recommending interactions, plus we've added track now playing information.
The latter has been the top feature request, and it's great to be able to display the track information (and associated links to /music page) for live broadcasts on Radio 1, Radio 1 Extra, Radio 2 and Radio 6 Music.
I look forward to your feedback, and observing the usage of the BBC Radioplayer console.
Dave Price is Product Lead, BBC iPlayer, Programmes and On Demand, BBC Future Media.