magneticNorth

Strategy, Ideas, Design and Development

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500 words 2015

This is... how to enter Radio 2's short story competition

Since 2014, we've supported the BBC Radio 2 Breakfast Show team in the development of their children's writing competition, 500 Words. Through our work on the competition's online submission system, it's been fantastic to play a part in the much loved writing challenge, which asks children under the age of 13 to write a short story in no more than 500 words.

So far, the competition has successfully encouraged thousands of children to get writing, with over 50 million words submitted. Past winners were announced at a swanky celebrity filled event at the Hay Festival for 2014 followed by St James’s Palace last year, with readings of the victorious tales by none other than Benedict Cumberbatch, Sally Hawkins and our personal man-crush, Hugh Bonneville!

2015’s competition closed with a total of 120,421 entries, which was 1,750 more than 2014!

walking tours app

This is… a new walking app

We collaborated with Manchester City Council and NOMA to create the ‘Manchester Walking Tours’ iOS app - a unique audio visual experience that allows you to explore the city and discover its defining moments in a totally new way. 

The app, which is layered with content from the city’s archives, gives you a 'heads-up' experience: plug in your headphones, pop your mobile device in your pocket and simply follow our audio directions without ever having to look down at a screen. All the content is location triggered using the GPS functionality of your iPhone, which means you can explore an area at your own pace.

The app was selected as a finalist in the 'Guardian Cities World Challenge Day' which highlighted the best ideas coming out of global cities

Proms 2014 v2

This is… the world’s greatest classical musical festival

In partnership with BBC Radio 3, mN created a new online and mobile home for the largest classical music festival in the world: the BBC Proms. The site, originally re-launched in 2011 and refreshed by us each year since, has a design inspired by the drama, scale and breadth of the Proms and offers an easy way to book, listen in HD Sound to and watch all broadcast performances. In May 2014 the site won the Multiplatform Award at the Voice of the Listener and Viewer Awards - the site was in good company with Sir David Attenborough and University Challenge also picking up awards too!

The 2013 Proms saw over 2 million visits to the site, with an all-time weekly reach high of 390,000 unique browsers during the penultimate week of the festival, up 30% on 2012.

BBC Radioplayer

This is... live and on-demand radio

We were commissioned by BBC Radio & Music to build a new version of the UK Radioplayer console. Radioplayer is a partnership between the BBC and UK commercial radio stations. Working with the BBC team we developed a player that gives audiences a simple and consistent online listening experience. This new version allows users to listen to live radio streams and on demand audio programmes and clips. Our brief was to deliver a stable application - no mean feat when you consider it has to cope with tens of thousands of concurrent listeners!

The BBC Radioplayer console receives huge levels of traffic with peak loads of over 81,000 concurrent listeners. 

This is… R&D with the BBC in a shipping container!

BBC Maestro is an interactive installation giving children the opportunity to conduct the BBC Philharmonic orchestra. Forming part of the Music Boxes exhibition in a shipping container at MediaCityUK for the Manchester International Festival, Maestro was developed using Microsoft Kinect technologies and lets the audience control the tempo and dynamic of the orchestra using nothing but their hands, just like a conductor. The project delighted thousands of children (and their parents!) and now tours cultural festivals around the world.

Maestro was part of the 2011 Manchester International Festival, which attracted over 230,000 attendees to the City of Manchester and had an estimated economic impact of more than £37 million. 

Desert Island Discs

This is… the digital archive of a British icon

mN worked with the BBC to design and build a digital archive for one of the longest running shows in radio history: Radio 4’s iconic Desert Island Discs. Spanning almost 70 years, fans can search for every record, every book and every luxury item chosen by all 3,000 plus guests to have appeared on the show since 1942. You can listen online and download classic episodes from Morrissey to Nicole Kidman and delve into the data archive. Audiences have downloaded over ten million programmes since the launch in April 2011 and the site is one of the highest scoring for audience appreciation across BBC Online.

The site attracts an average of 50,000 unique users every week, with that figure rising to 100,000 when there's been a particular popular guest on the show that week.