« Previous | Main | Next »

Buyer's Guide on The Archers Website

Post categories:

Mark Friend Mark Friend | 11:43 UK time, Wednesday, 22 April 2009

If you look carefully at The Archers website today, you'll see a link to a "Buyer's Guide".

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


  • Comment number 1.

    Very nice to see you use the same ID strings as /programmes and iPlayer. Good stuff!

  • Comment number 2.

    Hmmm. Not sure this is a good idea.

    You say you think it's something that people want, but is it the BBC that came up with the idea, and got positive feedback to this, or did people actually ask for it without prompting?

    Just seems a bit commercial to me, and the more commercial the BBC gets, the more impartiality it loses.

    Surely it's easy enough for people to find BBC content to purchase themselves. Just type in 'Archers CD' or 'Archers audiobook' into any search engine.

  • Comment number 3.

    This seems like a good idea, and I hope you expand it to cover DVDs and books soon.

    Some comments:
    * I think you should give a "From" price for each format on the main product page (e.g. https://www.bbc.co.uk/buyersguide/product/99 ), so that you can get an idea of price without clicking both of the links.
    * On the specific product page (e.g. https://www.bbc.co.uk/buyersguide/retailers/9781405687850 ) for CDs and other physical products that you may include in the future, I think you should add a column for total price (i.e. including P+P).
    * Also on the specific product page, the columns should be sortable (ideally with JavaScript so you don't have to reload the page) which would mean you could click the Total Price heading (suggested in previous comment) and easily see where the price is lowest. It's obviously easy to see at the moment, but once you get up to 5 or 6 retailers it becomes harder.

    And I assume you meant 'kbps' instead of 'kbpm' in the FAQ: https://www.bbc.co.uk/buyersguide/faq and https://www.bbc.co.uk/buyersguide/suppliers

    Also there's a typo on the Suppliers Info page: tehir

  • Comment number 4.

    I'm all for the BBC making money out of it's DVDs, audiobooks etc. I'd rather the BBC wasn't completely dependent on my licence fee. If a large chunk of it can come from commercial activity then you'll have a bigger budget to make decent programmes and/or you can reduce the licence fee.

    And as you have a website, why not push stuff through it, makes sense.

  • Comment number 5.

    I'd be happy for you to be using affiliate codes, if that meant more money to supplement your license-fee income.

  • Comment number 6.

    Everything is about marketing, no one can blame anybody here. I like the idea and found some interesting stuff through this media which I would not have noticed another way. It's all about information.


More from this blog...

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.