The BBC has today announced a re-launch of their popular online Radio Player software. The new software will allow the corporation "to make almost every BBC Radio programme available live and on-demand for seven days after broadcast, creating a massive, ever-changing library of music, talk shows, dramas and documentaries". The BBC also hopes to give e-listeners "control of their listening, allowing them to listen at convenient times, control their schedules and fast-forward through programmes while exposing them to new shows - and perhaps whole networks - they otherwise wouldn't come across."
The player is being re-launched with a variety of new features being made available, including list of the most popular shows and contextual lists to aid listeners find other shows they might enjoy. Listeners will also be able to listen to the BBC's local content as well as popular radio shows that were previously un-available online. The BBC will offer "now and next" information in the player and a novel feature that lets users "stop a programme at any point ... and then resume listening from that point at any time during the seven days the programme is available". The new service will integrate with the existing News, Sport and Weather Players.
The BBC is continuing to pioneer the way forward for online services in the media industry. Roughly 6 million users visited BBC Radio websites in November 2004 alone, with 3.2 million of them making use of the BBC Radio player. Roughly 6.2 million hours of live content were listened to in November, with over 7 million requests being served for "listen again" programmes. As well as offering streamed content, the BBC have made some content available for download in the Mp3 format; a show on Radio 4 called "In Our Time" is one of many shows available for download. "In Our Time" is also being made available for podcasters by the BBC, which in doing so makes the BBC the first broadcaster in the UK to use this technology. The BBC have bold plans to make the corporations massive collection of content available to the public via the internet; the revamp of their Radio Player is just one step of many toward this goal. The re-launched player is expected to go live on the BBC site tomorrow.
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