This week the BBC announced that, from April, it will offer iPhone applications for its news content; with a sport one to follow in June. This will be – or at least should be – music to the ears of all tech-savvy license fee payers.
You see, not only do these apps represent the next logical step in the propagation of up-to-the minute news and sports stories; but they will go some way to quenching the insatiable thirst of those iPhone users that, like me, crave content on the move.
The understanding is that the BBC has cleverly responded to viewers, who have been clamouring for such a service, at a time when smartphones have established themselves as a viable medium for the consumption of audio and visual media.
The most exciting thing for sports fans is the promise that all content available on the BBC Sport website (plus that of the rightfully popular Five Live radio station) will be available at your fingertips on a mobile phone. What this means is that not only can we access live commentary and scores, but when the World Cup in South Africa rolls round in June, we will be able to stream the matches live, on the go.
But as good as this sounds, us tech-conscious sports lovers should consider this a mere starting point. Because, while the finer details on the functionality and capabilities of these apps are still unknown, there is a hope (and some speculation) that the BBC will allow fan interactivity. Now this would be a very astute decision. For example, imagine if during their live World Cup streams the BBC could accept fans’ photos or comments straight from the stands in South Africa; or if viewers were able to interact with BBC journalists commentating at sporting events via the app.
It’s an exciting time to be a sports fan as technology continues to make our favourite clubs and players ever more accessible (thanks to blogs, Twitter and Facebook); and fellow enthusiasts are no more than a Tweet away. But come the summer, we will witness the next step, as live BBC sports events and live BBC radio shows are streamed straight to a handset near you. And the best bit? It’s going to be free.
So whether you’ve got an iPhone or will be getting an iPad, you can enjoy this new sporting provision from June onwards. And for all non-Apple users fear not, because the BBC has plans to roll out the service to Android and Blackberry smartphones “towards the end of the year”.
It’s not like we needed another reason to get excited about sport this summer, but the BBC has been kind enough to provide us with one. As a result, the license fee is about to become better value for money, and I’m sure you’ll agree that’s got to be a good thing.
(If you have a say on this topic please post a comment below or contact me on Twitter by following @alexarmstead)