Hi, I'm the Executive Product Manager for BBC iPlayer Radio.

The last two months have been exciting for BBC Radio on digital platforms: in October we launched BBC iPlayer Radio, bringing together all of the BBC's English language radio stations (57 of them!) into one coherent digital product across desktop, tablet and mobile.

We launched our first smartphone application for iOS devices, which has now been downloaded over one million times, easily surpassing our expectations.

We continue to work hard on releasing an app for Android devices which will offer a great experience, and that continues to be our number one priority. More on the mobile app on my colleague James Simcock's blog post.

BBC iPlayer Radio across all platforms now reaches around 6 million UK unique browsers per week, breaking all previous records, which is 30% up compared to October 2011. We are seeing a significant increase (almost one fifth, 18%) in traffic to the product homepage, which receives over a million unique browsers per week, and which in turn is sending higher numbers of people to the individual station sites: Radio 2 saw a 31% increase between September and November, whilst Radio 4 saw a 9% increase.

Generally we are seeing an increase in the proportion of our total visitor traffic coming from mobile and tablet devices, with now almost one quarter (24%) coming from mobiles, and 10% from tablets. This is in part down to the new mobile app, but also people browsing and listening via their phone's browser.

iPlayer Radio on mobile web

Another interesting change we are seeing is an increase in visitors to both Categories and Schedules. The use of Categories has increased by 83% between September and November (although the actual numbers are still relatively low) whilst Schedules increased by 10%. This is partly due to their prominence on the product homepage and the navigation bar which runs across all pages, and partly due to visitors using new ways to find the content they are looking for. Also, perhaps not surprisingly, more people are using the left/right arrows to navigate through the tabs on station homepages than are clicking on the tab names.

iPlayer Radio catagories

Audience Feedback

The majority of the feedback has been great, with constructive suggestions for how we might improve the product in future releases. There are a number of key feedback themes emerging:

1. Some people miss the overview of what is on-air across all stations. This was previously more obvious on the old homepage (although we still have that view here but it is less obvious and visual than before) and being able to listen live directly from this page.

2. Some listeners, especially from Radio 4, have found it harder to find the programmes they love and want to listen to on-demand, whether using the search facility or browsing.

3. A number of people were put off using the "Favourites" feature because initially it only allowed you to add a single episode instead of a whole series to your personalised list of favourite programmes.

What we've done since launch

This feedback has been extremely useful, and has already led to some changes which we have implemented.

1. The new product homepage was certainly a radical change from what went before it, so I wasn't surprised that some listeners missed the previous page. Our thinking was to make a very simple page which allowed users to quickly get to where they wanted to go, without presenting an overload of information.

To address the specific concern around seeing what is on-air now across all the stations, we are looking at making this much more obvious, so expect to see some changes in the new year. We have also made the homepage tabs addressable, meaning you can bookmark or share them. For example: http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio/#schedules.

2. To help listeners find programmes we have made the "Programmes A-Z" link more prominent, added in the key programmes to the programmes drop down in the navigation tool bar, added more categories, and made a significant change to the way our programme search works, meaning you no-longer have to type the exact programme title, and search results show programmes even if they are no longer available to listen to (after 7 days for most programmes).

Programme A - Z

3. To make the product a more simple and personalised experience, you can now follow a programme series rather than just a specific episode. So when you click on Favourites in the toolbar, you see a list of the programmes you are following, not just individual episode which may have expired.

iPlayer Radio Favourites

On top of this, we have now enabled playback of audio clips (sections of whole programmes) so users on smart phones can listen on the move. This is particularly useful for those who want something short to listen to whilst out and about.

Please continue to give us your feedback via our Feedback page and do follow us on Twitter for frequent updates.

Chris Kimber is Executive Product Manager, Programmes and On Demand, BBC Future Media

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Comments

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  • Comment number 24. Posted by BVFL33

    on 12 Mar 2013 10:46

    for those of us over seas the 'improved' version really is poor .Listening live is the ONLY option now as the listen again feature is unable to load and one receives a notice saying it isnt working try later .Some progress The answer of the BBC is to clear the cache and reload flash One does it still doesnt work yet hey as they then say .. nobody else has reported this the problem . BBC on phones seems to take priority over anything else .......

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  • Comment number 23. Posted by tom

    on 23 Feb 2013 11:43

    Hello CTO

    you still offer WMA-Streams. (http://iplayerhelp.external.bbc.co.uk/help/playing_radio_progs/real_wma_streams) This is great!

    But the URLs of the Streams don't end with ".wma". In addition the URLs of your Stream contain special characters.
    The consequence of these bugs is, that many clients (hardware clients) can't play your streams.

    Please change your URLs in your ASX files

    Thank you!

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  • Comment number 22. Posted by Doug Lawson

    on 20 Feb 2013 13:58

    BBC iPlayer Radio was released for iPhone in October 2012. Where is the Android version???
    Truly appalling BBC. Truly appalling.

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  • Comment number 21. Posted by Steve Brammer

    on 6 Feb 2013 19:07

    BBC iPlayer Radio: four months on.... Still no sign of an Android App.

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  • Comment number 20. Posted by SaintPancreas

    on 31 Jan 2013 22:39

    How is the Android development of iPlayer Radio coming along? It seems to have been some time since it was announced, and still the largest smartphone userbase seems to be ignored in favour of an increasingly idiosyncratic platform.
    In other words, why so much iPhone and not enough Android?
    Also, the new iPlayer radio web pages are a god awful mess and make me want to claw my eyes out. Please do not remove the old iPlayer radio web pages as they are the only way I can quickly find what I want to listen to.

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  • Comment number 19. Posted by Renate

    on 27 Jan 2013 12:43

    Understand the need for an upgrade, but am disappointed that I couldn't easily and automatically migrate my old favourites across. (Apologies if it was obvious and I just missed it).

    I am going back to the old site as I don't have time to fiddle around now in order to try and get the old list.

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  • Comment number 18. Posted by derita

    on 20 Jan 2013 16:09

    HI there
    I am not new to iplayer but am very frustrated since I recently bought a tablet manufactured by Kobo as an er-reader and media player.Iplayer will not work despite loading both that and media player. When I have contacted Kobo I get no where as they say they are not able to comment on third party apps. This means you at the BBC are my only possible salvation and notice you have recently announced Iplayer for Kindle and Kobo competitor.Is any one able to answer the question as to why Kobo may not pay iplayer.All starts as though all was well and then when it comes to start the video the machine just stops with a balnk screen?

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  • Comment number 17. Posted by HFMM

    on 17 Jan 2013 17:38

    After my post yesterday, my old site appeared again and is working fine. Thank you for such a quick response (and if it wasn't a "response" but coincidence, thank you anyway!)

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  • Comment number 16. Posted by HFMM

    on 17 Jan 2013 01:36

    Like others, my usual link to iplayer radio has gone blank. Living in Canada for a year, I greatly enjoy listening via i-player to familiar stations. With 20 mins to spare this morning, I opened the News category to listen as usual. I was met with 10,611 options, 1,062 pages to scroll through to make the selection, and no idea of how they were categorised - certainly not alphabetically. Some were by date, but not all, and even those with the same date seemed randomly assorted (were they according to the time on the scheduling? Do I now need to know that too? ) This isn't how a busy working woman lives! Today, I gave up and listened to a podcast - much less stressful. The old site was so much better. Can I have it back please?

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  • Comment number 15. Posted by Ajisai

    on 16 Jan 2013 07:27

    Sorry, hate it. (Really tired of going to regular favorite websites just to find they've undergone a complete overhaul and it's time to play "hunt for your stuff.") The "old" version worked just fine. Don't know why it was changed with no warning or option to continue using the "old" version. I know we've had the option to try the current version for a while now, but I wasn't aware that it was changing permanently with no option to continue using the previous version. Did I miss something? My bookmark didn't work when I tried to access the site today, just got a blank white page, took a bit of time to find the site again, and when I did, it was very difficult to find any answers to my questions. Don't know why it was changed, don't know why most of my Favorites have disappeared (or are wrong), and don't know how to get them back. Also, find the layout and process of finding shows awkward and time consuming, and it's irritating that I have to spend time trying to do that now. Frankly, I don't see the benefit of the change yet, and it's difficult to go from a smooth experience with the site to a confusing and frustrating one. On a final note, is there any way to choose to go back to the previous version which was easy, clear, familiar and user-friendly?

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