The beginning of April saw the first birthday of Radioplayer. At launch, it was feted as “an unprecedented display of industry coordination” and was teed up to be a game-changer by those in radio. Twelve months later, What’s Hot takes a look at how it’s getting on.
First of all, a quick recap on Radioplayer. UK Radioplayer Ltd is a not-for-profit collaboration between a collection of commercial stations and the BBC. It is an online audio player which gives listeners access to live, on-demand and podcast radio from hundreds of stations in the UK. Its aim is simple – to streamline the fragmented online listening experience, and to stop listeners from straying to rival audio streaming platforms such as Spotify and Rdio.
One year on, the facts speak for themselves. Radioplayer has doubled the number of stations available, now offering over 320, catering for every musical genre and regional preference. More significantly, initial projections were for 3-4m users per month. February 2012 saw this target smashed, with 7 million unique visitors to the platform, as quantified by Google Analytics. Moreover, online listening hours have increased 32% YoY in Q3 2011, followed by a 10% YoY increase in Q4 2011, and Radioplayer has been pointed to as one of the key drivers of this. Seemingly, it is causing a distinct impact on UK listening behaviour.
Currently, Radioplayer is optimised for desktop and laptop PCs only. Such is their faith in the platform however, that Currys and Dixons now pre-install the desktop version on all their PCs. In the spirit of expansion, Radioplayer is following the launch of its Facebook app with a series of other own-brand apps to be rolled out this summer. Plans are afoot for mobile apps from Apple and Android, TV apps, beginning with YouView, and long term rumours look towards in-car integration, similar to the deal recently brokered in the US between Ford and listening platform Pandora.
From a media trading perspective, individual radio groups and stations sell their own airtime – in the same manner as traditional radio – and online commercial space – there is no central ‘Radioplayer sales team’. This allows for flexibility in planning, and the ability to buy on a station-by-station basis, with no obligation to commit to a bulk buy. The interface also provides advertisers with the opportunity to visually skin the station’s player, expanding the touchpoints with the listener.
So what’s next? Global domination, apparently. Radioplayer Worldwide is about to be launched, and a licence agreement has already been signed with Russia, with other countries set to follow. The good news is that revenues generated from this expansion will be reinvested in the UK Radioplayer, funding continued development for the UK radio industry. All in all, a massive success so far. Music to our ears.