Bauer Media

Bringing the live event experience to radio lovers’ homes

The brief

Bauer Media Group is a leading global media company, owning hundreds of magazines and radio stations around the world, and reaching 22 million UK adults. In the UK it operates dozens of radio stations including Kiss FM, Absolute, Magic, Jazz FM, Scala and Kerrang.

Its popular stations are renowned for building communities of dedicated music lovers and bringing them together at brilliant live events. Not everyone in these communities can attend all of the shows they want to - because they’re sold out, too far away or for a host of other reasons. During 2020 teams at Bauer had been exploring how they might use their apps and websites to deliver great live experiences, a question that became urgent when live music stopped due to the pandemic.

Inital ideas were in the form of early sketches and wireframes and hadn’t been shown to any listeners. Bauer asked Loomery to develop these ideas and validate them with listeners and create a vision for how live video events could appear in their apps and websites.

Project summary

Over an intense 4-week research and discovery phase, a small team from Loomery worked closely with station teams, Bauer’s innovation team and listeners to evolve and expand on these early ideas. We prototyped a series of product concepts which would bring thrilling live video experiences to Bauer’s radio station apps and with audience feedback, we narrowed down to the most promising feature concept. In a subsequent phase of work we partnered with Bauer’s teams to design and release the new feature for listeners to enjoy.

Project in numbers

780

listeners in our research group

30

prototype variants tested with listeners

22

hours of remote interviews and tests with listeners

"Working with the Loomery team was fantastic. Over four weeks we learned loads from listeners and created an impressive prototype to validate a new concept. I hope we get to work together again"

— Kathryn Molloy, Head of Innovation, Bauer Media

Getting clear on listeners’ needs and desires

Our team began by immersing ourselves in the habits, wants and needs of radio listeners. Firstly, a survey went out to more than 750 radio listeners, building a picture of their live event experiences and expectations during and beyond the pandemic. Secondly, we ran a series of exploratory interviews with listeners to gain a deep understanding of their at-home event experiences, motivations and behaviours. 

To supplement this picture we spent time with producers who create the brilliant content for Bauer’s radio stations; learning what it takes to deliver compelling radio features and how their teams use events to engage audiences.

Making things to learn and decide

At Loomery, we believe the best way to progress at pace is to make things - and this project was no different. Having developed a deep understanding of listeners’ needs, we brought Bauer’s radio teams together to develop and nurture product concepts. Initially these were rough sketches and hacky prototypes, invaluable in sparking new ideas, teasing out assumptions and revealing potential challenges.

Within days we developed an initial set of ideas into low-fidelity designs, to test with listeners, garner feedback, and quickly identify which ideas had promise, which to park and which to kill. From a broad set of ideas, our focus rapidly narrowed to the experience of live music events.

Going deep on live music

Our second round of listener interviews dug further into situations our audience is in when they listen to live music at home. We uncovered four distinct ‘need states’ - see visual. These brought to life different situations listeners are in when they watch live music at home and therefore clarified the different needs to design for. 

The ‘need states’ gave us a much clearer lens to think about the prototypes we were building, their potential applications for the stations and the best way to test them with users. To make our tests as real as possible we built prototypes for each brand, including content that would resonate with fans of each station.

Innovating on the at home live music experience

With clarity about the situations and events we were designing for we set about solving some of the bigger design challenges, and explored how to bring people together across Europe to catch unique moments they wouldn’t have been able to otherwise.

We rapidly designed multiple iterations of at-home live event experiences - focusing on how to make it as quick and easy to start enjoying the event, and how to create a feeling of community while at home. With a final round of user testing, we zeroed in on an end-to-end event experience for mobile and web, finalising our vision for the experience.

To communicate this vision with the breadth of leaders, producers and stakeholders involved in the project we built an exciting concept video showing how the feature could be applied to deliver brilliant shows for each station.

Supporting delivery

With summer looming we then helped to identify a high quality MVP that could be shipped to customers quickly to start gathering usage data, and supporting the summer events season. Partnering closely with Bauer’s existing product teams we designed the MVP in time for delivery.

Supporting this MVP was a data-driven roadmap, meaning that rather than guessing ahead of launch how the product should evolve we identified certain conditions that would indicate different product priorities. 

Conclusion

We loved working with the team from Bauer on this. Whilst there's nothing quite like attending a gig, capturing some of the magic of live events on web and mobile was an exciting brief and we’re excited to see it roll out to music lovers across Europe. The new feature will be rolling out to Bauer’s apps over the summer, look out for it on the App Store and Google Play.

“The iterative approach to validating hypotheses with research quickly was the perfect methodology to answer our design questions and finalise a MVP feature set to take to development. The Loomery team are a great group and easy to work with - highly recommend”

— Lee Kennedy, Head of Product, Bauer Media