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BBC unveils iPlayer Radio as music streaming heats up

iPlayer Radio

By Nicole Kobie

Posted on 8 Oct 2012 at 13:11

The BBC has unveiled its much-rumoured iPlayer Radio, as Deezer and Spotify continue to do battle.

iPlayer Radio will allow users to listen live or on-demand, either via their browser or an iPhone app. An Android verison is in the works, but has been delayed by problems with Flash, the BBC said.

There are no plans for versions for Windows Phone or Blackberry, and it will only work in the UK.

Users will be able to save favourites, watch video clips, search for programmes - but not, it would seem, for specific artists - and use the built-in alarm clock to wake up to their favourite station. The system will only work with an internet connection; there's no offline version.

Mark Friend, controller for multiplatforms and interactive, wrote in a blog post that the number of people accessing BBC radio stations and events over mobiles and tablets has leapt this year. "For example, during the week of Radio 1’s Hackney Weekend, 34% of browsers visiting the site came via mobile and tablet," he said. "In the week when traffic to the Proms site peaked, 20% of browsers accessed the site via tablet. Last month saw an 88% year-on-year increase in reach to our mobile-optimised sites."

Rival players

The launch comes days after the release of the UK Radioplayer app, offering a similar service for other stations, and as streaming services such as Deezer and Spotify work to figure out a business model for on-demand music.

Music-on-demand service Deezer has just won £81 million in new funding from the owner of Warner Music, saying it now has 26 million users in total, of which two million are paying subscribers.

Spotify, meanwhile, had four million paying users out of a total 15 million as of August, but lost £2.1 million in 2011 - although that was a large improvement over 2010's £26.5 million loss.

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User comments


It's a nicer way of browsing BBC radio shows - But I don't get how this is connected with Spotify/Deezer ?

By dg2puk on 8 Oct 2012

This is a new interface to BBC content (which has always been available), nothing like Spotify or Deezer. In Spotify you choose what you'd like to play. It is not like a radio station.

By hexy1 on 8 Oct 2012

Still no HTML5 Audio. So no luck for people using Windows RT, BlackBerry OS, Symbian, Tizen, Meego, Boot to Gecko, ... They haven't even managed to put out an Android app yet.

I realise that content producers probably don't want to forgo the (easily bypassed) DRM that Flash provides, but why launch a rebrand when it's only available to license fee payers who've bought technology from a single company?

By aerosol on 8 Oct 2012

don't want to know about flash in the pan applications

"An Android verison is in the works, but has been delayed by problems with Flash"

Yeah, flash being abandoned by Adobe as a platform on Android, coupled with the fact not all Android phones will run flash anyway including my own.

So why are the BBC coding this Android app in a defunct unsupported medium? I agree they should go down the HTML5 route

By mr_chips on 8 Oct 2012

Non event

BBC iPlayer already offered all of this so what is new other than it now being a separate app? In fact, there is a 3rd party radio iPlayer app available for Android that has been around for years. It just seems like the BBC has decided to duplicate something that already existed (twice) and then spend lots of broadcast time advertising the fact (it was on every news bulletin yesterday). And they wonder why the public are fed up with paying the BBC License/Tax.

By Bassey1976 on 9 Oct 2012

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