Buyer's Guide on The Archers Website
Click on this and you'll be directed to Audiobooks of The Archers which are available on CD and/or as a download. There's more information on each product, links to suggested suppliers and clear pricing information.
Our decision to introduce the 'Buyer's Guides' is driven by a public service, and not a commercial, ethos. Rather, this is about making it easier to find relevant BBC material and providing information to help guide people through buying online.
And just to reassure you suppliers do not make any payments to the BBC, either for listing as part of this service or for any click-throughs.
The suggested suppliers have been assessed against published criteria which include purchasing security, data protection and customer support. These criteria are intended to give a simple and reliable way to find BBC products while not favouring any one retailer over others.
We're launching the Buyers Guide after research we conducted (survey, interviews, focus group and user testing) suggested people want to know how to find BBC content that is commercially available online. They reacted positively to the idea that the BBC should provide links to commercially available BBC content. In fact most participants were happy for the BBC to take a stronger commercial stance. The user testing of the choice of price, preferred brand, and availability presented by the Buyers Guide was also welcomed.
Buying media online can be confusing and daunting, particularly for those with concerns around security and legality. I believe the BBC has a public service role to play in helping people to find older content, and in guiding those least familiar with purchasing media online. Acting as a 'trusted guide' is something that we take very seriously.
In terms of aggregating content, for example, if you're interested in the UN talks on North Korea, then BBC Online will link you to a wealth of archive BBC News reports on North Korea, background information and links to other sites including US Northern Command, CBS News and Sky News.
This aggregation of material becomes more complicated when some of the relevant BBC content is only available commercially, and, in the past, we didn't link to it. For example, go to The Archers website and you'd see links to other BBC drama from the past seven days but no reference to old material available as Audiobooks.
Consequently, we hope that the 'Buyer's Guide' will go some way to providing users with the opportunity to find out more about their favourite BBC content.
I'd be interested to get your reaction.
Mark Friend is Controller, BBC Audio & Music Interactive