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World Cup & Wimbledon on broadband

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Roger Mosey | 13:39 UK time, Thursday, 1 June 2006

A couple of major announcements in two days: first that Wimbledon will be available this year for the first time online - and now today we've secured the broadband rights to this year's Fifa World Cup.

This means a summer of unprecedented top-quality sport online from the BBC for users in the UK. At Wimbledon there'll be up to five live interactive video streams of action from around the courts, supplemented by a daily round-up of highlights that's available for our global audiences too.

From Germany 2006 there'll be all the BBC games streamed live in video; every single match streamed in audio; and then video highlights on-demand, again for every game.

This reflects us taking seriously what you've been saying to us.

You want BBC Sport on the platform and at the time of your choice, and these days a broadcaster can't rely on simply putting on an event at a fixed time on a conventional tv channel.

Some people will want to watch the afternoon World Cup games on the pc in their office; others will drive home listening to coverage on Five Live or Five Live Sports Extra; and if you've been out for the evening you'll be able to catch up with all the goals at the time you want rather than where we've chosen to schedule them.

That doesn't mean tv isn't still vital: it will attract by far the biggest audiences and it will be the place where the nation comes together to watch the greatest football tournament. But choice is vital too.

The way the media world is changing is clearly illustrated by the messages we've been getting about our changes to the 606 message boards. Whatever the rights and wrongs of the issue - and we're listening carefully to what you're saying - the power is increasingly with consumers.

It's no longer a relationship where we broadcast to you, and that's it. Audiences want to participate, to debate, to make their own scheduling decisions and to have a range of options not just take-it-or-leave-it.

We may not get all of this right, but our aim is that the BBC should be the most modern provider of content as well as the one with the strongest traditions. That's why we've developed this website, which is by far the biggest and most popular site of its kind.

It's why we offer you a choice of sports at the Olympics or the ability to select a court to watch at Wimbledon - and now the World Cup live and on-demand.

It's also the reason why we do this blog: explaining our thinking but also opening ourselves to challenge. There is no point in being a public service broadcaster unless we're open about what we do - and do our best to deliver what you want.

Wimbledon and the World Cup online are, we believe, major steps in that direction.

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