BBC iPlayer Radio, the free iOS application for streaming BBC radio broadcasts and shows, is about to get a long anticipated new feature: offline downloads.
In a recent blog post, the BBC explained that for the first time ever, “radio and music lovers will be able to download BBC Proms and BBC radio programmes in full to their smartphone or tablet for free, listen to them offline, and keep them to enjoy for up to 30 days on the BBC iPlayer Radio app.” Since the update is due to land on the App Store this week, offline downloads will indeed reach BBC iPlayer in time for the BBC Proms (which begin on July 17).
The update sees the BBC challenge Apple on the radio front. As I’m sure you know, Cupertino poached the BBC’s Zane Lowe some time ago to front Apple Music’s Beats 1 radio station. BBC iPlayer Radio’s update gives iOS device owners a further reason to tune-in to the BBC’s radio offerings, rather than Apple’s Beats 1. Mark Friend, Controller of Radio and Music Multiplatform at BBC Radio, added:
The spectacular success of the BBC’s podcasts, with around 70 million downloads in May, shows that people want to download high-quality audio to listen to at their convenience. Extending this to make almost all of the BBC’s radio programmes downloadable, including Comedy, Music and Drama, will delight our audience who have been asking for this. From The Proms and the Essential Mix to Just A Minute and Afternoon Drama, things won’t be the same again with your favourite BBC shows at your fingertips and easy to listen to on the move.
Of course, besides the BBC Proms, programs from BBC Radio 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 Live, 6 Music, 1Xtra, and Asian Network will be available for iOS device owners and radio fans to download and enjoy offline. Given that many of the BBC’s listeners make a daily commute using the London Underground (where cellular signal is a real rarity), the update will be much appreciated.
You can download BBC iPlayer Radio now on the App Store. As mentioned, we’ll see the application receive offline downloads in the near future.