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YouView - radio's great opportunity

YouView is an excellent way to sample radio's content - see how, in pictures

Chatting the other day to someone from BBC Radio, I congratulated him at their clever placement of Paul Merton's appearance in a BBC Radio 4 programme, when you search on YouView for "Have I Got News for You." I thought this was really, very clever indeed, and told him so.

He looked surprised: he didn't know this happened. But, as you can see, it does...

A search for "Have I Got News For You" returns both HIGNFY itself, but also the extended version "Have I Got A Bit More News For You", and Paul Merton's appearance on Desert Island Discs. (The interface tells me the date, but not the year.)

So, I thought I'd do a few more searches on YouView to see what happens.

First, if you don't know about YouView, it's a hybrid TV platform, given away by the likes of BT and TalkTalk with their broadband connections, but also available in stores. It combines all the on-demand services from broadcasters into one. If you think people don't listen to radio over the TV - they do. Indeed, people listen more to radio on the TV than they do radio on the internet. So, radio through the TV is important.

As you can see above, 'search' has its own prominent button on the YouView remote control, so here's what happens when you search for stuff on it.

Chris Evans returns his Radio 2 breakfast show, as well as an appearance on Radio 4, his One Show appearances, and a few rather more random ones (I guess he did a voiceover for The Avengers). A nice search across a lot of programme providers.

Remember Chris Moyles? YouView kind of does - with The Media Show's episode presumably talking about him leaving BBC Radio 1, and a few programmes where he was probably a guest. A review of his stage musical appearance is also here: though I've no idea why Oscar Wilde also pops up.

It's not so good for commercial radio. A search for Geoff Lloyd, a presenter on Absolute Radio, returns nothing useful in OnDemand mode, but when you flick to "On now and next", gives you his upcoming appearances on Absolute Radio, a station carried on YouView. No logo, though, sadly, nor any images of Geoff.

A search for Classic FM, which is carried on YouView, returns... a BBC Radio 4 programme, with one of Classic FM's presenters, Paul Gambaccini, being interviewed. Just because Classic FM is available on YouView doesn't mean they're actually serving them any data: and, interestingly, nothing appears in "Now & Next".

A search for Taylor Swift returns, on this BT-connected box, opportunities to pay to watch her videos: and no radio stations (at least, none on the front page). I'm guessing she's played a fair bit on Capital, at least.

A search for Fun Kids, a radio station that isn't carried on YouView at all, predictably returns nothing - at least, nothing related to the station. It is, however, relatively good at matching programmes that might be deemed "fun" and for "kids".

A search for a place like "North Korea" brings no relevant television programmes at all, in spite of all Panorama episodes being available on the desktop version of iPlayer. Here, we get a bunch of radio programmes: from a few Media Show episodes (covering the recent storm about the BBC's Panorama programme) and Excess Baggage, which was a travel programme on Radio 4.

Ant & Dec shows the quality of this search engine, with PJ & Duncan (their pop alter-egos) appearing, as well as some programmes where they appear as guests.

So, what's interesting from these searches?
1. The searches are particularly good for people: and it could well be that people looking for Chris Evans are introduced to his radio work as a result. (That might be a bad example, but you see what I mean).

2. The search logo isn't the owning station or channel, but the owning on-demand service. There are no logos here for BBC Radio 2 or BBC Radio 4, which is a shame, and doesn't adequately convey what type of programme you might reasonably expect to find.

3. Commercial radio gets a pretty rough deal here. Partially, that's because few offer on-demand; and partially, that's because there isn't very much radio on the system. A Radioplayer 'app' for YouView would immeasurably help, though who knows how much YouView might want to charge for that.

4. The searches are great for radio documentaries, where the BBC has unlimited availability. Why no Panorama, though, which also has unlimited availability? Is this a missed opportunity?

I wonder how we can get more radio on here?

James Cridland is the Managing Director of Media UK, and a radio futurologist: a consultant, writer and public speaker who concentrates on the effect that new platforms and technology are having on the radio business.
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Recommendations: 0
Vusi Sibiya

This is a great enhancement for radio… hope to see an increasing uptake across more radio stations globally.

Recommendations: 0
Enda Caldwell

Smart article about a smart feature! Well spotted James!

Recommendations: 0
Richard Murie

I guess Avengers came up because of the actor Chris Evans, who plays Captain America!

Recommendations: 0
Stuart Wilkinson posted

You say that Classic FM is on Youview. Are you sure? I thought Youview only currently carries radio channels broadcast on DTT and radio content from iplayer. I wasn’t award any radio stations were currently available on Youview via internet connectivity. When did this change?

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