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ECB launch broadband TV channel
02 Jun 2006
By: James Nixon


The England and Wales Cricket Board launched its official broadband TV service, ECBtv, at the first npower Test last month at Lord's.

ECBtv is a must for all cricket fans, showing npower test and NatWest one-day international matches live to certain territories - plus match highlights, exclusive interviews, press conferences, coaching master classes and many other features to a global audience.

The ECB has signed a three-year deal with digital rights company, Premium TV, to produce the broadband channel - as an addition to the ECB's official website.

In addition to the exclusive interviews, the ECBtv console streams live video coverage of all home npower test matches and NatWest one-day internationals to identified territories in Europe, South and Central America, Japan and Africa, which are not covered by current ECB television deals.

ECBtv users can also access live audio commentary on all England's home internationals, with BBC Radio's Test Match Special being relayed through the channel.

The ECBtv console is a key development for the ECB, which sees broadband as a crucial platform for cricket in England and Wales to build on the popularity enjoyed by the sport during the npower Ashes series in 2005.

The ECB will also be encouraging England players to create their own content for the website. For example, 'Freddiecam' could give fans an exclusive glimpse of how Andrew 'Freddie' Flintoff prepares for key matches. ECBtv captures the atmosphere of the England camp like never before during the 2006 summer - and onwards through the Ashes and Cricket World Cup next winter.

Also embedded in the ECBtv channel is a searchable video archive (SVA) that allows fans to view extended highlights of England's classic moments on home soil, such as great matches, innings and wickets from as far back as 1970 - meaning classic moments such as Botham's Ashes in 1981 can also be included.

Another feature of ECBtv is the 'Active Zone', where fans will be able watch tutorials on all key aspects of the game from England players past and present, and see video clips of key grassroots initiatives such as NatWest CricketForce 2006. It will also house ecb.co.uk's own multimedia archive of video and audio clips, bringing continuing coverage of all aspects of the game outside of the international arena.

Premium TV will work alongside the ECB's broadcast partners to ensure that the online broadcasts are geo-blocked in areas where any conflict with TV broadcast deals exists.

Premium TV has a proven track record of handling digital rights for major sports organisations, such as FLi (Football League Interactive) and World Rally Championship (WRC). The company's expertise in managing digital rights, coupled with its DRM technology, gives the ECB a real opportunity to take advantage of the growing digital market.

Oliver Slipper, CEO, Premium TV, comments: "The ECB signing is yet another example of how PTV can help sports organisations exploit their digital rights by creating a unique service for a very popular platform. ECBtv allows cricket fans to watch top cricket action and exclusive content, when they want to watch it.

"It also demonstrates how digital rights deals complement rather than compromise TV deals."

See http://www.ecbtv.co.uk/page/Home/0,,11617,00.html?WT.mc_id=cweb to access ECBtv.

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