Official blog/info site of the Radioplayer partnership - the BBC and commercial radio working together to grow online listening.

 

Radiodays Europe

This morning, Radioplayer was demonstrated at a conference in Copenhagen attended by 700 radio people from all over Europe. Nick Piggott from one of our partner groups, Global Radio, showed the ‘player and took questions (thanks to @smartin for the pic).

 Nick Piggott shows Radioplayer 

Here are some of the Twitter responses generated among delegates - a huge encouragement as we head towards launch in 13 days time.

Very proud that UK is leading the way in public service / commercial collaboration with UK Radioplayer. Well done guys.

UK Radioplayer takes metadata from “important but programme makers don’t know why” to “crucial competitive advantage”.

V. interesting presentation about Radioplayer.

Lots of nice questions about the UK Radio Player. Positive comments and all.

 Wondering how radio player search is weighted, looks impressive and fast.

 UK Radioplayer - what radio should have done a decade ago. A great solution for making the industry digital!

 Like catchphrase “agree on technology, compete on content” re UK Radio Player.

 Brilliant! UK Radio Player, cooperate in distribution, compete with content.

 Watching live demo of UK Radioplayer. A genuine innovation UK radio industry can be proud of.

Ultimately, digital radio will be a total success when devices are platform agnostic & searchable with Radioplayer-like technology

Radioplayer interviews

A couple of bits of recent Radioplayer coverage….

Audio: ‘You and Yours’ interview on BBC Radio 4, 04/03/11 

Video: report by Jonathan Marks, filmed at Radio Festival

Answers etc

Many thanks for the questions you’ve submitted about Radioplayer recently. Hopefully you’ll find the answers you need in the list below.

When will Radioplayer launch?

On Thursday March 31st. We’ll start with about 150 stations, then add more as fast as we can. Within a few weeks Radioplayer aims to feature the vast majority of the UKs radio stations – between 200-300 individual services, with thousands of hours of on-demand programmes and podcasts searchable too.

 

In your search window, is your metadata searchable by not only the type of station and location, but also by programme information? Let’s say you are looking for ‘Wigan v St.Helens’, to catch live coverage of rugby league, would the search engine be able to do that?  And presumably it would show the current live game at the top of the list as it’s the newest?

Yes – the Radioplayer search engine will match details in programme information, as well as in titles etc. It favours programmes or events which are on air right now, plus those coming up in the next ten minutes or so. For programmes in the past, available as listen-again, it also ranks by time, with the most recent first.

 

We already have an MP3 stream. Do you plan to access this? Does Radioplayer provide additional capacity for the total number of listeners?

The Radioplayer console uses an embedded media player. It will play an existing mp3 stream, or any other type of stream that’s playable in Flash (like AAC). We don’t stream any output ourselves – stations host their own versions of the Radioplayer console, and organise their own streaming capacity.  

 

To be usable for this listener there would need to be a download option for talk radio shows. A 5 minute interview from a 3 hour Breakfast Show is an “item of interest”. One doesn’t want to be using the slider to find it. Are you considering that option?

The Radioplayer search engine can certainly flag an ‘event’ (like an interview or a music session) within a longer programme. When you click on that search result, it’s up to the individual broadcaster whether it appears as a ‘listen-again’ stream, or as a download.

 

Will Radioplayer be available on the iPhone?

Initially, Radioplayer is designed to be used on computers with Flash installed. Once we’ve launched that first phase, we’ll look at mobile devices like iPhones, tablets, and Android handsets.   

 

Is there a catch up service?

Yes. Radioplayer will find and play live streams, listen-again programmes, and podcasts. All BBC Radio shows currently available in iPlayer will be available in Radioplayer, and commercial and community stations will also offer listen-again programmes and podcasts via the Radioplayer search engine.

Radioplayer Search Engine
Roughly a year ago, when we were first sketching out the principles underpinning Radioplayer, a group of about 15 BBC and commercial radio people met in a cramped conference room to agree how the Search engine should work. I remember staring out of the window at the spire of All Soul’s church, as I tried to imagine how the vague concepts we were discussing would look as part of a living breathing product. 
Having spent the last few weeks tuning and testing it to destruction, I now know. And I’m amazed how close we’ve come to delivering the principles we agreed that day. As I recall, we talked about the enduring strengths of Radio, and our aim was to build a Search engine which would capitalise on those. Obvious ones included ‘ease of use’ and ‘editorial relevance’ – but also on the flip-chart were less definable strengths, like ‘immediacy’ and ‘locality’. 
Fast-forward through months of detailed design work, prototyping, testing, metadata modelling, configuration, coding - and we’re about to launch a bespoke Radioplayer Search engine which is easy, effective, and enjoyable to use. It does the simple stuff very well – finding stations by name is a breeze. Search for a genre or a keyword like ‘rock’, and the obvious stations come near the top. But scroll down a bit, and you begin to see a bit of magic. Station results, on-demand programmes, and podcasts are all offered in one list, with pithy summaries, and clear time references.  
Then you notice that items which are live now, on shortly, or just broadcast, are higher up the list than older ones. Do the same search an hour later, and you’ll see the dynamic effect of the ‘now-ness’ algorithm. Add a postcode to the keyword ‘rock bn19qe’ and there’s another subtle shift, with items relevant to the Brighton area coming higher.  
There’s no doubt we’ve stayed true to the principles agreed in that stuffy meeting room – but I’m also sure we’ll need to refine the Search engine further over coming months. We know how it performs with hundreds of pieces of test information in the database – but what will happen when there are thousands of  stations and programmes? How often will people use it? What will they search for? How should we represent multiple sub-brands like Heart?   
Time will tell – but for the moment there’s a more detailed explanation of our Search principles here, along with some suggestions for how stations can optimise their metadata.

Radioplayer Search Engine

Roughly a year ago, when we were first sketching out the principles underpinning Radioplayer, a group of about 15 BBC and commercial radio people met in a cramped conference room to agree how the Search engine should work. I remember staring out of the window at the spire of All Soul’s church, as I tried to imagine how the vague concepts we were discussing would look as part of a living breathing product. 

Having spent the last few weeks tuning and testing it to destruction, I now know. And I’m amazed how close we’ve come to delivering the principles we agreed that day. As I recall, we talked about the enduring strengths of Radio, and our aim was to build a Search engine which would capitalise on those. Obvious ones included ‘ease of use’ and ‘editorial relevance’ – but also on the flip-chart were less definable strengths, like ‘immediacy’ and ‘locality’. 

Fast-forward through months of detailed design work, prototyping, testing, metadata modelling, configuration, coding - and we’re about to launch a bespoke Radioplayer Search engine which is easy, effective, and enjoyable to use. It does the simple stuff very well – finding stations by name is a breeze. Search for a genre or a keyword like ‘rock’, and the obvious stations come near the top. But scroll down a bit, and you begin to see a bit of magic. Station results, on-demand programmes, and podcasts are all offered in one list, with pithy summaries, and clear time references.  

Then you notice that items which are live now, on shortly, or just broadcast, are higher up the list than older ones. Do the same search an hour later, and you’ll see the dynamic effect of the ‘now-ness’ algorithm. Add a postcode to the keyword ‘rock bn19qe’ and there’s another subtle shift, with items relevant to the Brighton area coming higher.  

There’s no doubt we’ve stayed true to the principles agreed in that stuffy meeting room – but I’m also sure we’ll need to refine the Search engine further over coming months. We know how it performs with hundreds of pieces of test information in the database – but what will happen when there are thousands of  stations and programmes? How often will people use it? What will they search for? How should we represent multiple sub-brands like Heart?   

Time will tell – but for the moment there’s a more detailed explanation of our Search principles here, along with some suggestions for how stations can optimise their metadata.

Radioplayer Terms Published

Today we’re sharing 3 important documents about Radioplayer, aimed at stations thinking of joining.

 

Beyond the core partners, more than a hundred stations of all sizes have indicated their interest by ‘pre-registering’, and formal signup will open shortly. But ahead of that, stations need to know what they’re committing to, how the ‘player will look and operate, and how much they will have to contribute.

 

Our Terms and Conditions outline the contractual relationship between the not-for-profit company running the ‘player (UK Radioplayer Ltd), and each station. You can download them here.

 

Because the Radioplayer model relies on a shared user interface, we’ve described how it should look and operate in the Radioplayer Style Guide, which is available here.

 

And to offset the costs of developing and running the Radioplayer, we need to charge an annual license fee for each station. Those fees are set relative to a station’s weekly reach, represented as five separate bands. Details are here.

 

Next steps – please read these documents, then you’ll be ready to confirm your acceptance of our terms when you register.  

 

Your questions answered

Many thanks to everyone who’s submitted a question over the past couple of weeks - there’s been a huge surge of interest in Radioplayer, so apologies if I haven’t got straight back to you.

I’ve now compiled a list of the most common questions, and supplied some answers below. I hope they make sense - drop me a line if you need any more detail.

Q: When will Radioplayer launch?

The first stations will appear in December, with more joining in January, and a full public launch in February.  

Q: Will Radioplayer be accessible overseas?

Every station in Radioplayer hosts its own pop-up console, stream etc., so just as now, some will block overseas access, and some will allow it.   

Q: Any plans for last.fm integration?

Great idea – there’s huge scope for recommending radio by looking at musical preferences etc.  One for the future, though – not in phase 1. 

Q: Will Radioplayer work with any operating system (that can run a web browser)?

Yes – as long as it has a browser with Flash (as do more than 95% of personal computers/laptops). 

Q: Do you plan to roll out Radioplayer to TVs/set-top boxes at launch?

Lots of interest in this. As TVs become more ‘connected’, we’ll certainly look at Radioplayer apps for them – but we’re not quite ready yet. 

Q: Can you get Apple on board sooner rather than later? With 8-10 million iOS devices in the UK, this seems a large (and influential) segment to leave out.

Any Apple computer with a browser and Flash will run Radioplayer. Mobile devices, including iPhones and iPads, will be something we’ll look at in phase 2.  

Q: Will non-UK stations be able to participate, using Radioplayer as their gateway?

It’s a ‘UK Radioplayer’ first and foremost – so no. But we may be able to license the model for use in other territories once we’ve launched. 

Q: Will the standards be open so an open-source offline client can be implemented?

Our metadata model is open and published, which means anyone can get at the source data that ‘powers’ the ‘player. There are currently no plans to open-source the console code.

Q: Will you be able to record the radio streams onto MP3(or other format) from within the program?

No – but the search engine will enable you to surface and listen to thousands of on-demand programmes, clips, and podcasts. 

Q: How can brands advertise on Radioplayer? Do you need to advertise with each station or will Radioplayer manage multi-channel takeovers?

Each station on Radioplayer looks after its own commercial offering. There is no central commercialisation by UK Radioplayer Ltd. 

Q: Will you be able to stream podcasts from this service too?

Yes – podcasts will appear in the search results and can be played, provided stations tell us about them in their metadata!

A quick post to round up a selection of the huge Radioplayer press coverage we’ve had since we unveiled the ‘player, featuring our five ‘guinea-pig’ stations. 
A perceptive analysis from Andrew Orlowski at The Register
Comprehensive Guardian piece, including links to BBC blog post 
RadioToday piece, about help for stations joining Radioplayer
Audioboo interview (inter-boo?) by Mark Rock at Radio Festival
 

A quick post to round up a selection of the huge Radioplayer press coverage we’ve had since we unveiled the ‘player, featuring our five ‘guinea-pig’ stations. 

A perceptive analysis from Andrew Orlowski at The Register

Comprehensive Guardian piece, including links to BBC blog post

RadioToday piece, about help for stations joining Radioplayer

Audioboo interview (inter-boo?) by Mark Rock at Radio Festival

 

Real-time demo of the Radioplayer, featuring the first five ‘guinea pig’ stations.

No safety net
Breaking news….I’ll be doing a live demo of Radioplayer at the Radio Festival in Manchester next Tuesday. We’ve been racing to deliver a code-complete ‘player, skinned by 5 ‘guinea pig’ stations, with full preset and search functionality. I’ll be showing it live to the radio industry - and there’s still time to get a ticket.  

No safety net

Breaking news….I’ll be doing a live demo of Radioplayer at the Radio Festival in Manchester next Tuesday. We’ve been racing to deliver a code-complete ‘player, skinned by 5 ‘guinea pig’ stations, with full preset and search functionality. I’ll be showing it live to the radio industry - and there’s still time to get a ticket.