BBC iPlayer Radio introduces new 'My Radio' features
Senior Product Manager, Radio Product Group
The iPlayer Radio website and mobile app are introducing a My Radio section as part of the BBC’s wider plans to make its products and services more personalised and tailored to viewers and listeners. Daniel Bean, Senior Product Manager from the Radio Product Group, discusses the new My Radio features.
The BBC iPlayer Radio website and BBC iPlayer Radio mobile app provide access to almost 60 separate stations, most of which broadcast new programmes 24 hours a day, seven days a week. As well as all that live programming there’s also a wealth of on demand programmes and clips available for you to catch up on. We recently checked how many on demand programmes were available and counted almost 150,000; a number that is set to continue rising.
This wealth of programming brings with it a challenge that isn’t unique to BBC Radio: how can you discover the things you love in amongst all those items? If you’ve got an idea of what you want then we have ways of helping you find it such as our search tool, the broadcast schedules for our stations or particular categories like ‘comedy’ or ‘drama’. But if you don’t really know what you’re after then it can be hard to know where to start.
Earlier this year we released new versions of all our station homepages to see if we could help with this issue. Our aim was to make the homepages do a better job of showing you our pick of the best of BBC Radio. Since we launched the new homepages, the proportion of people visiting those pages who click something on them has almost doubled, which is a significant improvement.
However the problem remains that when we pick out the best of BBC Radio we’re not taking account of your own personal listening preferences. This calls for a different approach, which we’re calling My Radio. It works by keeping track of the BBC Radio programmes you listen to online in order to help you keep up with the programmes that you love and introduce you to new programmes we think you’ll enjoy. We’re starting out with a relatively simple version, which includes some features we already have and some new ones. We’ll measure how well these features are doing and refine them, as well as introducing new ones to help you get the most out of BBC Radio online. The home for these features can be found here. In order for these to work you must be signed in to your BBC account.
The My Radio page on the iPlayer Radio website
My Radio on the iPlayer Radio mobile app menu
Existing features which form part of My Radio include 'Listen Later' (previously called ‘Listen List’ and only available on the website) which gives you the ability to save things for later and ‘Following’ which allows you to see the latest available programme from your favourite shows. We’re introducing ‘Listen Later’ for the first time to the iPlayer Radio mobile app. You’ll be able to access these features on any device where you’re signed in to your BBC account.
Listen Later on the iPlayer Radio mobile app
Listen Later on the iPlayer Radio website
Following on the iPlayer Radio mobile app
Following on the iPlayer Radio website
We’ve also listened to your suggestions and have built a number of ways for you to sort your 'Listen Later’ and ‘Following’ lists. These include by alphabetical order, by when you added items to the lists, by how new the items are and by how soon they’re going to become unavailable.
Options for sorting Following on the iPlayer Radio website
Options for sorting Following (on the left) and Listen Later (on the right) on the iPlayer Radio mobile app
On the iPlayer Radio website we’re introducing personalised radio recommendations for the first time. When you’re signed in to your BBC account we can keep track of the programmes you listen to unless you ask to opt out. Information about those programmes, such as their genre or what other programmes were listened to most often by people who listened to your programmes, is then used to work out what other programmes you might like.
These recommendations are unique to you since they take account of your personal listening preferences; someone else will get a different set of recommendations. What’s more, the more programmes you listen to online, the better our recommendations should get. We’re planning to introduce this in the BBC iPlayer Radio mobile app soon as well.
Recommendations on the iPlayer Radio website
We think these changes will help you to better find your way through all our amazing BBC Radio content and discover programmes that you might not otherwise have come across. We’d like to hear how you find the journey.