This week, the BBC re-launches its internet Radio Player to make almost
every BBC Radio programme available live and on-demand for seven days
after broadcast, creating a massive, ever-changing library of music,
talk shows, dramas and documentaries.
Latest figures show more than 10 million hours of BBC radio is consumed
online per month and, from 25 January, the new Radio Player will offer
500 extra hours of programming and offer a range of new features.
The re-launch puts audiences in control of their listening, allowing
them to listen at convenient times, control their schedules and fast-forward
through programmes while exposing them to new shows - and perhaps whole
networks - they otherwise wouldn't come across.
The new Player provides all the programmes and benefits of the current
model - which makes many of the BBC's radio programmes available online
- but includes over 80 more programmes, making virtually all of the
BBC's national radio output available on-demand via the internet.
Newly available programmes include: Colin & Edith, Jo Whiley and Vernon
Kay (Radio 1); Steve Wright, Sarah Kennedy and Ken Bruce (Radio 2);
Morning on 3 and Performance on 3 (Radio 3); Ace & Invisible and Rampage
(1Xtra); Night Train (6 Music); Midday News (Five Live); and Drive with
Nikki Bedi and Breakfast with Gagan Grewal (Asian Network).
The new Radio Player also features live streaming of every one of
the BBC's English local radio and national stations: Radio Scotland
and Radio Nan Gaidheal; Radio Wales and Radio Cymru; Radio Ulster and
Radio Foyle; all 40 of the BBC's local radio stations.
The improvements follow 30,000 emails received from listeners about
the Radio Player since it first launched in June 2002 and record online
In addition to the wealth of new programming, the new Radio Player
makes it even easier for listeners to navigate, with lists of the most
popular programmes and links to allow listeners to click through to
any programme related to their favourite genre.
For the first time it will also be possible for listeners to stop
a programme at any point, switch off the computer and then resume listening
from that point at any time during the seven days the programme is available.
It will also be possible to explore the other content on offer without
interrupting the listening experience.
The new Radio Player enhances the live listening experience by providing
details of what programme is on now and next for each station and is
integrated with the BBC's News, Sport and Weather Players, providing
one-click access to a huge range of audio and video from the BBC's News
and Sport divisions.
Radio Player - some facts
A record 6.15 million unique users visited BBC Radio websites in November
2004 - a 55% year-on-year increase.
48% (3.2 million) of those visitors made use of the BBC Radio Player,
listening live for 6.2 million hours and requesting over 7 million programmes
More than 10 million hours of BBC radio is listened to online each month
(live and on-demand) - a year-on-year increase of nearly 60%.
More than 160 million page impressions are generated per month.
Some programmes are available as mp3 downloads including Five Live's
Fighting Talk and In Our Time (which received 70,000 download requests
in November 2004).
In Our Time is also available via podcasting - the BBC is the first
British broadcaster to use this technology.
Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy illustrated the popularity of internet
radio with an incredible one million on-demand listens.