DUBLIN — Documentary on One, the radio
documentary website of Ireland’s public broadcaster Raidió
Teilifís Éireann (RTÉ),
boasted 1.03 million page views and more than 1.5 million podcast downloads in
number of radio documentaries that listeners downloaded from the site accounted
for 14 percent of all podcasts downloaded from RTÉ in 2011, the most popular
network in this country of 4 million. And that percentage is growing — since
Jan. 1 of this year, they now account for 16 percent of all podcasts downloaded
put this podcast percent share in context, Documentary on One’s on-air programs
only make up 1.1 percent of RTÉ broadcast content, with a correspondingly
smaller audience. Meanwhile, the network’s Morning Ireland website only
achieved 930,000 page views in 2011 despite being the website for the largest
radio show in Ireland.
Documentary on One’s home page
is a true hunger for compelling radio documentaries among online listeners,” said
Liam O’Brien, series producer for Documentary on One. “And it is not just in
Ireland: A third of our downloads are international, with the U.S. accounting
for 11 percent and the U.K. 10 percent.”
five-person Documentary on One unit is renowned for its documentaries. Since
2008, it has won 52 national and international awards. Twenty-one were awarded
to them in 2011 alone.
A typical documentary home
of its programs are rebroadcast internationally on ABC in Australia, BBC in the
U.K., CBC in Canada, NPR in the U.S. and RNZ in New Zealand. “All of our
documentaries are offered to any radio station worldwide for free broadcast,” said
O’Brien, “but only on the grounds that all our online details are given each
and every time a documentary is aired, and that our content is correctly
with this exposure, the Documentary on One team sensed that there was an
untapped audience for its content online. So it established the on-demand podcast
website in July 2009.
“Our website is the largest archive in the world for radio documentaries,” said
O’Brien. “We currently offer over 900 radio documentaries, which stretch as far
back as 1954. We continue to produce new content and upload from our archives
and so later this year, we will offer more than 1,000 documentaries.”
O’Brien adds that they have also just released a new Documentary on One
mobile app for iPhone and Android smartphones so listeners can have immediate
free access to RTÉ radio documentaries from anywhere in the world.
on One’s website is promoted by word of mouth, particularly through social
media. The fact that this happens so often explains why so many people visit its
podcast page. The question is, why?
answer is compelling content; aided by an easy-to-navigate website that list
documentaries by category —Culture, Life, Health, Timeless, etc. — plus “Most
Popular” and “Recommended’ link sections (and an online user’s guide to help newbies
find what they want).
instance, on the page for the Most Popular documentary “Little Molly O’Neill — A
Survivor’s Story,” the text reads, “In a graveyard in Wexford is a family
headstone ... one date stands out among the others — Christmas Eve 1922, when a
mother, Alice O’Neill, and her seven children all died on the same day. They
all died in a fire that was to haunt a community and shape a family for
generations. The fire left only one survivor from the family — an eight year
old girl ‘little Molly’ — to carry on the family’s history.”
The splash screen for
Documentary on One's Mobile app.
The doc library, as seen inside the mobile app.
documentary explores events leading up to the fire, when someone pulled up
potatoes from the fields and tried to damage farm equipment, and asks the
question: Was this tragic, community-scarring fire deliberately set? The page
also includes historical photos and links to the documentary makers, to whet
the reader’s curiosity. Downloading “Little Molly O’Neill — A Survivor’s Story”
requires just a single click on a large onscreen button.
The success of the Documentary on One website
has proven the continuing appeal of well-produced radio content, said O’Brien,
even in the Internet age. “In fact, our success in attracting new listeners —
typically not the same people we reach on FM — speaks to the hunger people have
for such content,” he said. “If anything, being able to access it on the Web
has fortified this genre, not diminished it.”
success has reinforced RTÉ’s ongoing commitment to radio documentary
production, at a time when money is tight. “Since 50 percent of our operating
revenues come from public license fees, it is vitally important for us to be
able to demonstrate our worth,” O’Brien said. “Attracting more than 1 million
page views annually, and generating 14 to 16 percent of all RTÉ podcast downloads,
goes a long way to proving this point.”
Careless reports on the industry for Radio World from Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.
The RTÉ Documentary on One can be contacted
via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.