The app allows users to listen to the broadcaster’s radio services live and on-demand over the internet. Ofcom is investigating the app as it offers choices beyond the programmes of conventional radio stations. The commercial radio trade organisation RadioCentre and chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group For Commercial Radio, Andy Carter MP, raised concerns over content on the new app.
Initial concerns focused on the new Radio 1 Dance channel.
Ofcom’s initial investigation concluded the BBC’s new channel was not a problem and did not infringe the remit.
However, Ofcom did concede “there have been a number of incremental changes to BBC Sounds, and some stakeholders in the commercial radio sector have concerns about its development”.
Ofcom has now announced it will investigate the market position and impact of the new BBC Sounds.
Ofcom said in a statement: “The audio and radio sector is undergoing a period of rapid change due to the evolution of streaming services, including the entry of global players such as Spotify and Apple Music.
“Audience expectations are also changing; increasingly they want to listen to the content of their choice, when and where they want to, and there is a tendency for younger audiences, in particular, to listen online.
“The BBC has responded to these audience changes and competition by developing and expanding BBC Sounds.
“Given the incremental changes that the BBC has made to BBC Sounds, we consider that now is the appropriate time to take stock of the market position of BBC Sounds and assess whether there are any issues that need to be addressed, via regulatory action or other means.
“We are therefore seeking evidence from stakeholders about the impact of BBC Sounds on the market.
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“Ofcom, therefore, intends to consider the market position of BBC Sounds through a public process, seeking evidence from stakeholders and the BBC.
“We expect to complete this by the end of 2020.”