Radio industry launches online player

The radio industry has launched an online player that streams content from hundreds of radio stations in the hope of attracting younger listeners to the medium.

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Radioplayer features live shows, podcasts and archive content from the BBC and commercial stations such as Classic FM, Capital, Smooth Radio and Absolute. It is the first time that as much content has been available in one place online.

Listeners can access the platform directly from the Radioplayer website or each station’s own site, with all embedding the facility. Users can search for stations, presenters, local content and programmes.

Stations will share the same controls but will customise their own space with programme content or, in the case of commercial stations, ads.

An online marketing campaign, created by Albion will push the launch. On air ads will run across BBC and commercial stations for six-weeks.

The platform is the first product developed by Radio Council, a joint venture between the BBC and commercial radio that was setup two years ago to develop digital initiatives.

There is a concern in the industry that radio could lose out to other, younger media channels in the battle for attention and, for ad funded stations, revenue.

Radio bosses want Radioplayer available on smartphones and tablets. It is likely to be offered on YouView when the internet TV project launches next year.

Speaking at the player’s launch, BBC director of audio and music Tim Davie says the platform represents a “quiet breakthrough” but adds that “constant innovation” is necessary to “drive people to radio”.

More than 200 stations will be available on Radioplayer from next week when Bauer Media and UTV owned stations join launch groups BBC, Absolute, Global and GMG’s Smooth on the platform.

It is hoped that all Ofcom registered stations will be on Radioplayer within a year. Stations will pay a fee to join proportionate to their size.

Online listening accounted for 3% of all radio listening, about 4.5 million people, in the final quarter of 2010, according to Rajar. It is hoped that Radioplayer will attract about 3 million listeners by next week.

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