Radioplayer launches with 150 stations
Today marks a significant moment in British radio history. A new internet radio service offering live streaming and on-demand content from the BBC and a large number of commercial and local radio stations has launched.
For the first time ever users can now listen and flick between stations such BBC Radio 1, Heart, Smooth Radio and Absolute Radio at the click of a button. The Radioplayer service marks the first time that the BBC has united with its commercial rivals Global Radio, GMG, Bauer Media, UTV Radio and Absolute Radio to create a definitive online portal for all radio listening in the UK. Lets be honest this is big news that puts competition issues aside in favour of offering a strong innovative product to consumers ahead of digital switchover in 2015. Clearly this is something the TV industry should take note of.
The primary aim of Radioplayer is undeniably to increase radio listenership. According to last year’s Rajar figures, internet radio currently attracts 4.7 million listeners a week, which is the equivalent of 3.1% of all radio listening. The universal spread of Radioplayer, which will be embedded on each radio station’s websites as a pop-up player, will no doubt help streamline listening and offer more choice to consumers, but as to whether it will lead to a significant boost in listenership remains to be seen.
The real benefit of the service, which is made up of 150 stations, with a further 150 local and community stations due to be added in the coming weeks, is that it not only allows users the ability to tune into their favourite stations but also the ability to catch up on their favourite shows which they may have missed throughout the week. Therefore, not only is more content available, it is readily accessible from one centralised location.
Andrew Harrison, the chief executive of the commercial radio trade body the Radio Centre and chairman of the venture has described the service has a huge benefit to the entire industry from student radio to well-established stations.
Harrison says: “Every station on Radioplayer will be one click away from every other station, and listeners will have the ability to search the whole of UK radio, discovering exciting new content.”
He added: “The radio industry’s ambition for Radioplayer is to increase the amount of time people are listening to radio overall, as well as boosting radio’s footprint online…we want people to remember to listen to the radio online and grow the number and amount of time people are listening to radio overall.”
Bauer Media owned stations such as Kerrang, Magic and UTV’s talksport will join the service later this week increasing the number of stations to 228. By this time next year all of the 400 Ofcom-licensed stations in the UK will be available through the service.
At the moment the service is only available online but applications for the iPhone and iPad are expected to be available by the end of the year.