New BBC Sounds app aims to woo younger listeners

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
The new app includes music mixes as well as podcasts and live radio

BBC Sounds, a new app that brings together the corporation's radio, music and podcasts, is hoping to entice more younger people to listen to the BBC.

The app replaces BBC iPlayer Radio, and James Purnell, director of radio and education, said it would allow the BBC to "lean in to the podcast revolution".

The old app was only used by 3% of people under the age of 35 each week.

"We do serve younger people less well than older people and we have to do more for them," Mr Purnell said.

Last week, regulator Ofcom said the corporation "needs to take significant steps" to reach young people.

BBC Sounds will offer "all of BBC audio at your fingertips", Mr Purnell told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.

The app, which will offer 80,000 hours of BBC audio, had a soft launch in June but is being promoted fully from this week.

Mr Purnell said it "will be personalised, we'll recommend content, edit collections... make it much easier for you to find your favourites".

Image caption,
BBC podcasts including You, ME and the Big C are available on the app

It will also include a new Today programme spin-off, Beyond Today.

Mr Purnell added: "We're here to bring the best to everyone, that's the BBC's role and if we're not serving young people as well as in the past then that will create a problem for our society."

He warned: "If we keep it exactly as it has been, in 10 or 20 years time we won't have the brilliant BBC radio that we have today."

The experience of listening to live radio gives the new app an edge over its rivals, he added.

"It's one of the key things that we have that none of our competitors - the big streamers - have. So we think radio is absolutely central to it.

"But we can complement it with podcasts, with amazing music mixes from our best talent - we can do both."

Follow us on Facebook, on Twitter @BBCNewsEnts, or on Instagram at bbcnewsents. If you have a story suggestion email

Related Topics

More on this story

Around the BBC