Cookies policy.

What are cookies? Like many websites and other services you access online, our online services (including our websites, mobile sites and apps) use “cookies”. Cookies are small text files that are automatically saved to the cookie file of the browser on your device when you enter a website or mobile site or access an app. They normally contain a unique number that we use to identify your device when you use our online services and to track and assist your navigation around our online services. What information do we associate with cookies?

Examples of the information that we may associate with cookies stored on your device and analyse are: your user-name, email address, the internet protocol (IP) address used to connect your device to the internet, your browser type and version, the operating system and platform you use to connect, areas of our online services that you viewed or searched for, the Uniform Resource Locators (URLs) from or through which you entered and exited our online services and the date and time of such activity. We may combine the information we associate with different cookies and information that we collect from other sources or that you provide us (e.g. when creating an account).

What purposes do we use cookies for on our online services? Cookies are used for many different purposes on our online services, examples of which are set out below. All of our online services are different and not all of them will use every cookie set out below.

1. To improve the functionality of our online services and to make sure content is delivered to you effectively through those services. For example, we use cookies:

as part of the functionality of our playlist and media player, for example to determine the last item played in a playlist so that the playlist knows which item to play next, to control the volume value set play to play, or to indicate if the end slate on a piece of content has been clicked, so that new content can be provided;

to determine whether user bars are collapsed or expanded, so that additional content can be delivered to expanded user bars;

to determine your browser settings, so we can tell if cookies can’t be set on your device and can deliver content to you in an appropriate way;

to impose roadblocks on your use of our online services if we need further information or consents from you before you can continue with a particular action or use;

to determine whether the search and suggestion functions and recommended links on our online services are helpful; and to enable you to interact with our online services through social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and SoundCloud if you are logged in to those sites (for example, by enabling cross-posting of activity information, allowing you to “like” or tweet about our content or to use AddThis functionality to bookmark it), or if you are not logged in to those sites, to disable messages that would otherwise have been displayed to you about those sites.

2. To analyse the performance of our online services so that we can improve the way they work and make the content and advertising displayed on them more relevant to your interests.

We use cookies provided by third party web traffic and marketing analysis companies (as part of services such as Google Analytics, Nielsen, Quantcast, Omniture, DemDex, ScorecardResearch and AudienceScience), to:

determine whether you are a new or existing user; record the number, sex, age range, demographic and approximate location of users of our online services determine how much time users spend using our online services and how they move around them; determine what type of devices users use to access our online services; detect the sources of traffic to our online services, so we can see whether a user has accessed them through a search engine result, a direct link or an ad that links to them; collect information about how often ads on our online services are viewed so our advertisers and ad networks can tell how effective their campaigns are; determine whether users have had a consistent experience on our online services; and
test the impact of particular elements of our online services, to determine whether making changes will improve their appeal to users.

3. To recognise you when you return to our online services and to remember your preferences to improve your user experience.

For example, we use cookies to:

determine when you last viewed a message advising you that the service you are accessing is directed at a particular geography or country; check the number of daily votes you place when voting in a competition, so that we can make sure votes are genuine and limit them where appropriate; authenticate users, for example we save the results of validation tests which prove that your actions on our online services are not automated; recognise you in order to make sure that we do not over-expose you to a particular online advertising campaign, notification, message or overlay; prevent underage users who try to enter competitions or sign up for a newsletter, from changing their birth date where previously entered; and remember user details for competition entry forms, so that users can progress through entry stages or submit multiple entries (where permitted) without needing to re-enter their details.

What cookies are set when you use third party services through our online services? Third parties (such as social media websites and providers of external services may also set their own cookies when you access their services through our online services, which we don’t control.

These are often persistent cookies and collect information about you which may include information of a similar type and nature as the information set out above. Details of the cookies set by these third parties should be set out in their own site privacy policies, and we have set out links to some of these below:

AddThis – Audience Science –
Facebook –
Omniture –
Scorecard Research – or
SoundCloud –
Twitter –

What influences the advertisements that are shown on our and third party online services?

We use third party advertising companies and networks, including Microsoft, Specific Media and Google’s DoubleClick and AdSense programs, to serve advertisements on some of our online services. The content of these ads may be influenced by various factors, including information about your browsing history collected by these advertising companies prior to and while visiting our online services.

These advertising companies may also use information they collect about your use of our online services in order to provide advertisements on third party online services about goods and services that may be of interest to you. In the course of serving advertisements, our third party serving networks may place or recognise a unique “cookie” on your browser in order to identify your device.

This is a persistent cookie. The ad serving networks may also make use of other technologies, such as “web beacons”. Both cookies and such other technologies are used to identify your device, record your browsing behaviour and to improve the relevance of the ads you receive on our and other online services. If you would like more information about these advertising practices (which are often referred to as “online behavioural advertising”) and to know your choices about not having this information used by these advertising companies please click on the links below:

Google’s AdSense –
Google’s DoubleClick – Microsoft –
Specific Media –

If you want to find out more about online behavioural advertising in general and how to disable it, you can also go to How long are our cookies stored on your device? Many of our cookies are session cookies, which means they are deleted when you close your browser.

However, some of the cookies set when you use our online services are persistent cookies, which means that they are stored on your device until they expire or you remove them. Our persistent functional cookies are generally set to expire after a short period of time, as we use them mainly to ensure that you don’t need to keep repeating actions on our online services within a short space of time. However, the persistent analytical, preference, advertising and third party cookies set when you use our online services may last longer, as, for example, they help us and/or third party to recognise you when you return to our or their online services.

How do you disable the use of cookies on our online services? You can use the “Help” section of the tool bar on most browsers to change the settings on your device, for example, to notify you when you receive a cookie, or to refuse all cookies. However, some of the features of our online services may not work or may be more difficult to access if you refuse all cookies. If you want to find out more about online behavioural advertising cookies and how to disable them, go to or you can go to the websites of individual advertising networks some of which are referred to above.

Your consent to the use of cookies on our online services