Monday, 8th October 2012 by Simon Hilliard
Last week the Telegraph published a seemingly unconfirmed story about the BBC launching a music streaming service. There was talk of potential partnerships with Spotify and iTunes, and the vast BBC archive being made available online – potentially for free, due to the unique way the Beeb is funded.
This morning the BBC made an announcement that may have been the cause of these rumours. As is usually the case with rumours, they were a little wide of the mark.
The BBC has launched a new service called iPlayer Radio, which wraps all radio content previously featured on the regular iPlayer into a brand new iOS app and desktop interface. This means all radio content will be pulled from the existing iPlayer, effectively creating two iPlayers – one for TV and one for radio.
Users can choose to either listen live to any of the BBC’s radio stations, or catch-up on previously aired content. The iOS app has some cool features, including a fancy looking spin-dial interface, the ability to share tracks being played, and an alarm clock that will wake you up with your favourite show (although if you don’t leave the app open when you nod off the alarm won’t sound, which could cause a few late mornings).
An Android app is reportedly to follow; some issues with Flash mean development has been slower. This is the same sort of issue that prevents Nexus 7 users getting the iPlayer officially through Google Play (but there is a cheat). Windows Phone and BlackBerry apps are far from top of the development agenda, but users of those devices can still get access the new service through their mobile web browser according to general manager for programmes and on-demand Daniel Danker.
So it’s not the revolutionary ‘BBC enters on-demand streaming market and puts back-catalogue online’ announcement you might have expected. However, it does confirm the Corporation sees a distinct difference between what is needed for on-demand TV streaming and catch-up, and what listeners want from their online radio.
There’s a hint this development has been driven by the increasing use of the iPlayer by mobile and tablets users. The press release noted the Beeb has seen monthly iPlayer requests for radio increase 56% and 300% on mobile and tablet respectively year-on-year.
This doesn’t mean that the proposed Playlister is off the cards. The rumour was any such service would launch later in 2012 or early 2013, so the new iPlayer Radio could be a prelude to something much, much bigger from the Beeb.
Category: BBC, Content, Digital publishing, mobile, Paid content, Technology
Tags: bbc, iOS, iphone, iplayer, iplayer radio, playlister
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