Audience reach across the competition has increased by 38% in the past two years - 18.8 million viewers in 2002 to 26.1 million in 2004 - with a marked rise in women and children watching. This trend has largely been attributed to England's success in the World Cup but this has begun to wane as the England team's form has suffered. To counteract this, the BBC Broadcast sports field simulator, Piero, will create replays from angles not captured by conventional cameras in an effort to bring the sport closer to new viewers.
The Piero system uses camera attachments to measure the actions of cameras at the game. The recorded movements are then tracked into a virtual stadium with pictures of the real play added into it, making it possible to view and analyse animated sequences from different angles. Offside, forward passing and the referee's position will come under particular attention.
BBC sport head of programmes and planning Pat Younge said that the BBC has 'a need to speak to a broader spread of people' than other broadcasters, such as previous Six Nations' broadcaster, Sky.
Continued high levels of reach across women and children, 42% and 32% respectively, would need a format that could easily explain the complicated rules while not alienating veteran fans of the game.
Piero will make its debut on BBC1 on 5 February.