Leading digital innovation key for success of BBC Audio and Music

MUMBAI: Unless the BBC‘s Audio and Music division makes a continued progress in three areas, it may have missed its chance to claim a primary place in the lives of people born into a digital world. The three things that will make the difference are: building a creative contribution; leading digital innovation and attracting the best people.

These remarks were made by BBC Audio and music director Tim Davie during the Manchester Media Festival. Says Davie "While the BBC has made significant progress across these areas over the last year, there is much more work to do." 
Davie notes that with the dis-intermediation of traditional media and the all-conquering power of online video, audio or at least radio is destined to recede in its importance. "One of the first questions I asked when I took over the job was: just how much listening of audio is there? And what is radio‘s share of listening? And I do not mean radio listening, I mean all audio: CDs, iPods, online – the BBC has a 55 per cent share of linear radio but what is its real "share of ear? We have just completed our first wave of this work which we hope to run annually, amazingly I don‘t think it has ever been done before. The study is the result of detailed tracking of the behaviour of nearly 2,000 people," he says.

Audio listening remains strong with an average of 3.8 hours per day, consumed fairly equally across the population. Traditional radio, says Davie, represents an amazing 85 per cent of all audio listening. This falls to 66 per cent among the 15-18-year-olds. This has undoubtedly declined, as iPod and mobile phones have become ubiquitous, but it suggests that one will see a future environment in which traditional linear radio co-exists with on-demand listening. 
"But while these results are pretty encouraging, there is clearly no room for complacency. So let‘s turn to audio content itself and my first priority: Building our unique creative contribution. One of the most intriguing and exciting pieces of data that has arrived on my desk in my first year was last quarter‘s Rajar figures which saw Radio 4 achieve record listening and Radio 3 deliver six quarters of sustained growth," says Davie.

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