Television

Beethoven downloads on BBC site top one million in the UK

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MUMBAI: Live performances of Beethoven's complete symphonies have attracted 1.37 million download requests in a BBC trial in the UK which was offered as part of Radio 3's The Beethoven Experience.

The downloads were from Radio 3 programmes featuring live performances, from Bridgewater Hall in Manchester, of Beethoven's nine symphonies by the BBC Philharmonic conducted by Gianandrea Noseda and introduced by Radio 3 presenters Petroc Trelawny and Sarah Walker. The programmes were available free of charge and therefore not eligible for the Official UK Download or Top 40 singles charts, although the public's enthusiasm for the programmes was evident.

BBC Radio 3 controller Roger Wright says, "This download experiment began as an added extra to our Beethoven Experience and quickly took on a life of its own. The remarkable number of downloads has already sparked a healthy debate about the place of classical music in the digital world. I am thrilled that Radio 3 has shown how wide the interest is in quality classical music and demonstrated how innovation and the use of new technology can find new audiences."

The downloads were available for seven days after their broadcast as well as available streamed for seven days from the BBC Radio Player. The trial formed part of Radio 3's Beethoven Experience (5-10 June 2005), in which the complete works of Beethoven were broadcast in one week. The BBC had recently announced it will be offering up to 20 programmes as podcasts and downloads, as a time-limited trial to give a more detailed picture of audiences' appetite for downloads and to inform the development of the BBC strategy for audio downloads and on-demand content.

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