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A conference about mobile at BBC Audio & Music

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Emily Chaplin Emily Chaplin | 12:19 PM, Wednesday, 15 December 2010

I've recently returned from a sort of sabbatical. One that involved learning more about the ways mobile technology is an integral part of peoples' daily lives (not just folk in the media).

I've learnt that Facebook has been the trigger for some of my new friends to get mobile internet, that practically all of my new friends capture and share pictures daily on their mobiles and that many use their mobiles to listen to podcasts or FM radio on the move (I've also learnt how to change nappies and function on very little sleep).

One of the best parts of my jobs at BBC Audio & Music Interactive is market insight: finding trends in new media, learning from colleagues inside the Beeb and further afield, and exploring how they effect what we do.

This Friday, we're running a conference on mobile. It's a few hours where the whole department can get some thinking time outside of our usual routines. The event begins by looking at audiences. It's a lot more scientific than my impromptu focus groups. We'll be exploring how people currently interact with BBC radio and music on mobile. Ariane van de Ven, Head of Future & Trend Insights at O2 will be sharing how organisations can understand more about their audiences through mobile usage.

Mobile internet is expected to overtake desktop by 2014. We'll be talking about how changes in mobile usage impact on how audiences might want to consume BBC radio and music in the future. And how that, in turn, impacts on what we do.

BBC Audio & Music Interactive already offers some great content for mobile users. Earlier this year we announced live radio streaming via our rather fine set of optimised mobile sites. As well as hearing about mobile projects across the BBC we'll be getting an external perspective on what the BBC's Commercial Partners are doing on mobile from Nick Piggott, Head of Creative Technology at Global Radio. James Whatley, co-founder of The Really Mobile Project and Simon Cross from Facebook will also be offering their insights.

The meeting is a chance to discuss where we are now and where we go next. When does mobile content add value or reach new audiences? What sort of content works best on mobile? Should mobile be thought of as an integral part of what radio broadcasters do?

We'll let you know how the meeting went on the Radio blog and you can follow the event on twitter using #BBCAMI.

This blog post was written on an Android-based smartphone.

Emily Chaplin is Business Administrator at BBC Audio & Music Interactive and producer of the #BBCAMI mobile conference

  • The BBC Audio & Music mobile conference takes place between 1030 and 1330 on Friday in the Radio Theatre at Broadcasting House. It's not open to the public but participants will be tweeting throughout so keep your eye on the hashtag #BBCAMI for a rolling commentary and - quite possibly - some useful mobile insights.
  • Follow @BBCAMI, BBC Audio & Music Interactive's official Twitter account.
  • We'll also be displaying a stream of tweets from the event on screens around the Radio Theatre using a nifty app called Dextr.
  • The illustration is by BBC Audio & Music's head of mobile James Simcock.


  • Comment number 1.


    I note some of your comments include:
    " ■ Mobile internet is expected to overtake desktop by 2014.
    ■ BC Audio & Music Interactive already offers some great content for mobile users.
    ♥ This blog post was written on an Android-based smartphone.
    ■ One of the best parts of my jobs at BBC Audio & Music Interactive is market insight "

    So as BBC has an official policy of offering content that is platform agnostic.
    (see for instance
    "BBC Trust, On-demand services, 25 April 2007 - Platform neutrality review"
    - & - )

    do you enjoy BBC iPlayer on your smartphone ?
    + And if not why not ?
    + Any news on developments in that area for users of Android ?

    :-) John

  • Comment number 2.

    I am one of the lucky ones I have an Android 2.2 phone which support the Flash streams from the BBC. I bought my wife an internet radio for Christmas and although that supports AAC streams it does not support Flash. She has to put up with low quality WMA streams. It is about time the BBC followed its declared policy and started to stream AAC to internet radios.

    The situation with these flash streams is interesting. The BBC does not use DRM and the AAC streams are sent over RMTP. Adobe has plublshed the specification of RMTP and so Open source software is available to decode these streams. Indeed the Squeezebox and other hardware can support these streams. The big advantage of this software is the ability to record programs.

    The other problem with the BBC streams is that they they try to stop people listening when abroad. It is very easy to circumvent this with VPN but it is annoying to have to do this.

    The BBC is very biased to Apple products even to the extent of providing special streams for their products. This is totally unfair to licence tax payers and seems to in direct conflict with the BBC charter. As John99 has said this conflicts with the Trusts policy. I expect what will happen is the trust will dump that policy like it has done with some of its HD televison policies.

    So I would like to make high quality AAC streams available for Internet Radios. I would like 320kb/s streams available on all the BBC radio channels.

  • Comment number 3.

    Hi John,

    I recently upgraded to Android 2.2. so yep, I can use iPlayer in the browser

    The BBC works hard to provide internet services on a "platform agnostic" basis. I think David Madden explains far more succinctly than I could, how the BBC prioritise which phones we test and enable iPlayer on.

    "We look at the reach potential of a device to understand how many licence fee payers we can make the service available to through that phone. We also evaluate the resource and maintenance costs of enabling a high quality iPlayer experience on that device. In addition we assess whether we can apply technology solutions we already have to new devices with minimum effort, an example of this would be BBC iPlayer streaming on iPad as the tech needed is very similar to that which enables us to stream iPlayer on iPhones. This is driven by our overall objective of maximizing reach on mobile platforms while delivering a high quality BBC service in a cost-effective way.

    We have limited resources on BBC iPlayer on mobile and therefore have to carefully prioritise development work to maximise reach and value. So, if, for example, I have 15 units of work I need to do on mobile iPlayer (support, maintenance, new features, new handsets etc) but only 5 units of effort available, I've got to focus on the high volume phones to get the service out to as many people as possible." (

    Best wishes,

  • Comment number 4.

    So, how do i listen to live radio via the BBC website via an iPhone? I didn't think that was possible, yet.

    Thanks, Ian

  • Comment number 5.

    Ian A, You're right. You can't currently stream live BBC radio to your iPhone or iPad. This is coming, though and the new Radio 1/1Xtra web site represents a step along the route to achieving this - pages are optimised for mobile and, where possible, live listening is available. In the meantime, there are several third party apps that will stream BBC radio to your iPhone - search your app store for 'streaming radio'.

    Steve Bowbrick, blogs editor

  • Comment number 6.

    I am no longer young, but find the possibilities of modern technology fascinating, could I enter a plea for more thoughtful use of language to support access for some of us 'oldies'? For example: "and exploring how they effect what we do. This Friday, we're running a conference on mobile..." Two points here I found unclear. 1] Does "how they effect what we do" mean 'how they bring about what we do' or is it a misspelling, meaning 'how they affect (i.e. impact on) what we do'? Also, much more confusingly, is 2] "a conference on mobile." I presume this to mean mobile technology. However, it could mean mobile phone usage, mobile internet usage, one of these, both of these, both of these plus additional something or other of which I am unaware. I know I am out of date with the use of modern technological terms, and this is not the fault of Emily Chapman, who seems a bright, modern, lovely young woman, but it would help so much if consideration was given to how a non-technologically expert user needs clear language support to access the service the BBC is currently providing and intends to provide in the future. As a long-term consumer of and supporter of the BBC, I would really appreciate this.
    Many thanks.


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