UK Radio Industry’s Online JV Has Launched

The UK’s radio industry has launched a jointly-operated single destination for playing live and on-demand radio online.

UK Radio Player is the product of a high degree of partnership between the BBC; commercial broadcasters Global Radio, GMG Radio and Absolute Radio, plus commercial radio’s RadioCentre trade body.

Commercial radio has complained for many years that the BBC dominates the medium. After hearing similar concerns regarding online radio, the BBC offered an olive branch. The partners came together in 2009 to develop the player and have formed UK Radio Player as a joint company, largely developed by the BBC. Soft-launched Wednesday, it currently plays 138 stations – by no means all of those broadcasting in the UK; others are expected to join later.

The player will harmonise the UI on-ramp to radio programming, but the other main boon to commercial broadcasters is new advertising opportunities it affords – rich new animation units that play upon the player’s loading and permanent banners during play in the player pop-up, which is nevertheless likely to sit behind desktop windows once played.

Absolute Radio COO Clive Dickens reckons it’s “the most important development in the 50-year history of UK radio”.

The BBC, four years after it plugged its radio output in to its iPlayer TV and VOD service, the BBC will now rip radio out of iPlayer and in to UK Radio Player,