BBC pulls live radio services from TuneIn UK in dispute over access to user data
The BBC is pulling its live radio streams from TuneIn in the UK, in a dispute over access to user data.
The change will affect all stations that are currently available on TuneIn, including BBC Radio 1, 1Xtra, 2, 3, 4, 4 Extra, 5 live, 5 live sports extra 6 Music, World Service UK, World Service News Asian Network and many regional stations. BBC podcasts will not be affected.
"This change is driven primarily by the BBC's efforts to standardise how listeners in the UK access BBC stations, which unfortunately, is something we are unable to accommodate at this time," TuneIn said in a blog post .
"Despite these changes in the UK, we remain committed to providing our listeners around the world the best listening experience possible and continue to value are partnership with the BBC."
TuneIn is a free audio streaming service that allows users to listen to more than 100,000 radio stations and more than four million podcasts from around the world.
It is is available in 22 languages, each with its own content tailored for the specific language or region, and has more than 75 million monthly active users.
Kieran Clifton, Director of BBC Distribution & Business Development, explained that any third-party apps and internet-enabled smart speakers that stream BBC radio stations are required to provide user data.
"We want our programmes, products and services to be the best they can be. And a major way we ensure that is by using meaningful data," he said.
"Data is more and more important – as it helps us to make more types of programmes we know people like, and equally importantly, identify gaps in our commissioning to ensure we’re making something for all audiences.
"We also use the data collected about what you watch, listen to or read online to offer personalised programme recommendations – and make our services even more tailored to you.
"When we make our programmes available via third parties, we ask that those platforms either allow you to sign into your BBC account – or provide us with meaningful data directly.
"Unfortunately, TuneIn doesn't do either of these, so we couldn't reach a data sharing agreement with them."
He added that the BBC's radio stations can be accessed on the BBC Sounds website, as well as the BBC Sounds and BBC iPlayer Radio apps for Android and iOS
These apps support playback on a wide range of speakers via wireless technologies such as Bluetooth, Chromecast and Apple AirPlay.
Anyone with an Amazon Echo speaker or other device that supports Alexa can access BBC radio stations via the BBC's Alexa skill.
Meanwhile, Google Home device owners can listen to BBC radio stations using either Chromecast or your voice.
Notably, Sonos speakers will continue to get BBC live radio steams via TuneIn, while the BBC explores alternative options for enabling the playback of BBC radio on these devices.
A number of older audio devices that offer an internet radio service powered by TuneIn are also unaffected by the change – as it's not practicable to deploy these data-driven features.
Clifton added that TuneIn continues to be a "valued partner" outside the UK.
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