BBC Sounds: Who are the BBC and who actually listens to podcasts?

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For the D&AD brief, it is important to understand who the client is before we start working on a project. Through freelancing on various projects, I’ve discovered that every business has it’s own set of values, and design can be built around these values if properly understood. 

One project I worked on in the past, to redesign a restaurant’s website, was very difficult when I started out. I didn’t know anything more about the company other than “they want to make money from selling food” which isn’t the key value of the business from the owners perspective.

Now, in the case of the BBC, it would be very difficult to get the perspective directly from the horses mouth so to speak, however the BBC has some corporate pages which describe who they are, alongside a plethora of detailed studies conducted by many people to define what the BBC does.

To start off, the BBC has a global audience of 376 million between their TV, Radio and Online services. That’s a HUGE portion of the world tuning into the BBC in some way for their information or entertainment.

Looking back to the brief, the BBC would like to bring more 16-35 year old’s into using the BBC services, around the world 25% of people aged 15 – 25 trust the BBC World services to access news in the English language.

Moving on to some other important demographics, as the BBC Sounds application is mainly advertising podcast content it is important to know who listens to this type of content through other platforms. Musicoomph, a blog about music and audio recording, put together an infographic which bought together statistics from various research organisations.

Some of the main takeaways from the above data for me were the age demographics. The statistics show that in the US at least the 18-34 age group are the largest (combined 46%) of listeners of podcast content in iTunes. This trend is also visible in the UK, statistics from OFCOM show that 15-24 year olds, and 25 – 34 year olds are the two largest audiences in the UK (combined ~34% weekly listeners). (Source: OFCOM)

So the BBC already know that their target market is large, and the app should be popular if they push the right type of content. This brings us to the next stage which is the type of content the BBC should deliver. From the statistics, in the UK the most popular podcasts are Comedy, Music, TV & Film. It would make sense for the app to push this kind of content first for the early adopters of the app (people who already listen to podcasts).

So to conclude, podcasts are already popular among young people, who are the target customer for the BBC to push BBC Sounds out further.

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