BBC iPlayer reaches record viewership in 2011

MUMBAI: New figures released show that the growing popularity of Internet-connected TVs, smartphones and tablets helped BBC iPlayer hit record-breaking numbers in 2011, with 1.94 billion TV and radio programme requests across all platforms.

Although computers are still the most popular platform for BBC iPlayer users, accounting for two-thirds of requests over 2011, the month of December saw a huge spike in usage through mobiles, tablets and connected TVs.

In December alone, seven million programmes were requested on connected TV sets, a year-on-year increase of over 1000 per cent, while mobile phones and tablets recorded 13 million and 10 million requests – year-on-year increases of 163 per cent and 596 per cent respectively. This reflects both the growing penetration of internet-connected devices in the market, and the near-universal availability of BBC iPlayer on those devices.

This helped BBC iPlayer register 187 million monthly requests across all platforms in December alone, a 29 per cent increase year-on-year.

With the installs of mobile and tablet apps - many on new devices bought for Christmas - BBC iPlayer registered its best-ever week after Christmas (26th December-02 January) with TV programme requests at a weekly high of 29.7 million. The most popular day over this period was 2 January 2012 which saw a record 5.4 million TV programme requests on one day, with Sherlock the most-watched programme with 623k – the most requests seen for any one programme in one 24-hour period.

The figures also reveal BBC iPlayer’s top 20 programmes over the whole festive period (20 December – 02 January), with Top Gear Indian Special being the most popular programme - watched 1.7 million times. The show was also the most-watched TV programme for the whole month of December.

Performances over the festive period were also seen for Michael McIntyre’s Comedy Show (over one million requests), followed by the Christmas Day Eastenders episode (966k requests). Both Christmas specials also feature among the top 10 titles for December along with Frozen Planet: On Thin Ice, and Doctor Who – reflecting the linear TV viewing figures the BBC also recorded over the period.

BBC GM programmes and on demand Daniel Danker said, “While 2011 was a remarkable year for BBC iPlayer across the board, the real story was growth of iPlayer on TVs, mobile phones, and tablets, outpacing PC growth many times over. Having established itself as a must-have app for smartphone users and the gold-standard for TV on the go, we see huge potential for BBC iPlayer on the living room set in 2012 – the natural home for great TV - as audiences switch on to the benefits of connected TV.”

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