Saturday, 13 October 2007

An everyday podcast of country folk

The BBC has today launched a podcast service for The Archers.

Many readers will know that I am an ardent Archers fan. The reason why they may know this is that I have used it over many years in my "Martini Moment" objective. Basically, back in 2002, I said that my "Martini Moment" would be the ability to access the internet and listen to The Archers "Anywhere, anytime and on any device". This was before the BBC launched their "Listen again" service when I had to time my life carefully so I was available at 7.02pm to listen 'live' to the latest episode. The Archers on the BBC Listen Again service was launched in 2003/4 and is now downloaded by 1m every month - the most "listened again" BBC programme by far! It has changed by life. WiFi and, any decent mobile connect card, enables me now to listen to The Archers anywhere I might be in the world at any time and from a multitude of different devices.

Now my Martini Moment ambitions have moved to video. Ie being able to watch Coronation Street "anytime, anywhere and from any device". Although I am close to a "watch again" service for most broadcast TV, I still really need a fixed line to do that. WiMax and other advances are making the mobile moment move closer.

My main Martini Moment desire right now is to "Listen again" in my car. Surely it must be quite simple to internet enable car systems? But that's where the Archers podcast will come in handy. I can see me downloading a missed episode to my ipod to listen in the car or on an aeroplane journey.

So for all of you who 'boo' everytime I mention the Archers in my presentations, get ready to 'boo' for some time yet. The Archers is an excellent example to use of the continuing progress of new media. Should the BBC ever allow advertising, The Archers has a dream audience. 4-5m regular listeners. Most of them in the very highest ABC1 groupings. Most of them older than 35 (Given that The Archers is now 50 years old, it does show that today's many young detractors WILL become listeners when they get a bit more 'mature') What the download figures also shows is that The Archers audience is both the most IT savvy and most willing to embrance new ways of broadcasting.

Footnote - As I wrote on April 1st, The Archers was the first ever 'live' reality radio programme. It was the first programme, back in the 1950s, to put microphones throughout Ambridge to record all the goings on throughout the day - a forerunner to the techniques employed today by Big Brother and many other reality TV programmes. At 6.00pm these recordings are collected and a team of BBC sound editors produce a 15 minute digest for broadcast at 7.02pm on Radio 4. Listeners appreciate that this technique ensures that the programme includes topical discussion of blue tongue and foot and mouth as well as comment on the latest football scores.

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