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BBC Online Briefing: Radio & Music Product Update

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Mark Friend Mark Friend | 12:00 UK time, Thursday, 10 May 2012

At our recent BBC Online & Red Button event in the London Radio Theatre I did a presentation with Andrew Scott, who is Head of Radio and Music, BBC Future Media.

We shared our strategy for the BBC's radio and music online offer across four screens and how we go about delivering this working with external suppliers.

We showed the Radio 1 homepage as a demonstration of how we want to make the live radio experience more visual, social and plugged into other online activity.

Here is a film of our presentation:

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Mark Friend is the Controller, Audio and Music Interactive

Mark and Andrew talked about how the product will integrate seamlessly with broadcast radio, as @valtech tweeted:

Product update on radio&music: The Internet is changing the medium! What is played on on the website will be played on the radio #BBCOnline - 12:48PM

Kite staff were happy to see the Radio 1 homepage they built used as an example:

Radio 1 Homepage on screen LIVE! Kite mentioned! #BBCOnline #wemadethat #pride - @MadeByKite, 12:10PM



  • Comment number 1.

    I would like to watch the film but I can't because I don't have Flash. A few days ago there was a BBC article about HTML5 and how it avoids the need to install a proprietary plugin to watch video. I hope the BBC have plans to make use of this new technology.

  • Comment number 2.

    Given that many people use music in different ways during the day, I think it would be useful if BBC Radio could be integrated with playlists in applications (on mobile as well as desktop).

    Imagine using your own playlist (or one generated in an app) but choosing what percentage of the playlist is integrated with programmes you enjoy. At the moment daytime radio is playlisted. I'd like to have a on-screen slider that lets me choose what proportion of what I'm listening to is from a radio show and what is from my computer or mobile music player. This would include presenter links and feature items.

    Depending on taste and mood and current situation I'd like to choose what proportion of news, sport, music news, weather and travel I'd like to hear. Given my age I'd choose mainly 6Music-style music news over that of Radio 1, but could have the option to hear Radio 4-style news integrated into my dynamically generated playlist.

    This would mean that some radio shows could be combined into my playlist would take much longer to listen to - depending on which elements I decide to opt into. Also if the player app knows how long I've been listening, there is no need to play the same radio playlisted music (or news item) as many times.

    This would require a lot more metadata in audio feeds - including tagging elements that depend on previous elements. This could include music information back announcements. Knowing dependencies between items would allow dynamic reordering. This would help if listeners wanted to interact with a show. If they click a 'go live' button, they would hear a minute or so of necessary recap (when a presenter asks the audience for contributions via phone or online) before going live to hear the rest of the audience contribute. Conversely, non-live contributions that come in after a show has finished could be integrated in the following days, months and years.

    Once consequence would be that you would need an extra member of staff on many shows for live tagging and post show contribution tagging - part of building communities around BBC content.

    Trails that pre-announce shows could have an 'combine with my BBCplaylist when available' control, and those promoting items available for what is currently known as 'listen again' could be immediately combined with the current BBCplaylist - playing once the current item has finished.

    An advantage of this technology would be that if podcasts/rebroadcasts could only include 20 seconds of each track (after a week), the player would play the full track if it is available to the listener (via local storage or other online services).

    In practice it might be best to start this process by breaking up popular podcasts to make them available as elements in a current playlist - such as Adam & Joe's from 6Music (and XFM?) and Danny Baker and Mark Kermode and Simon Mayo from 5 Live.

    I wrote about this playlist combination idea on my blog at http://alex4d.wordpress.com/2008/12/28/playlists-combining-radio-and-itunes/

    As an aside, if music fans have large audio libraries, a BBC-version matching service would give listeners the option to hear the BBC session or live version of songs they already own. This could include video or the soundtrack from videos.

  • Comment number 3.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.


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