iPlayer viewing figures make merry Christmas for BBC

Joseph O'Halloran | 03-01-2013

In what was a perfect fifth birthday, the Christmas holiday period has seen the BBC’s iPlayer catch-up service break new records.

The BBC claims that the iPlayer is now the leading consumer brand in the UK, running on over 650 devices and platforms ranging from TV platforms and games consoles, to mobiles and tablets.

According to figures released by the BBC, just as throughout 2012, the festive period witnessed more and more viewers accessing programmes on mobiles, tablets and internet-connected TVs, with the iPlayer app downloaded nearly one million times including almost 300,000 downloads on Christmas Day alone. By the end of 2012 the iPlayer app had been downloaded nearly 13 million times.

There was what was described as a “significant” spike in users installing iPlayer on new tablets and smartphones with devices such as the Nexus 7, iPad and Kindle Fire HD proving popular. For Christmas Day, the BBC reported a 40% increase for viewing on tablets and 66% on mobiles compared with Christmas Eve. Mobile and tablet viewing requests grew even further on Boxing Day and saw another catch-up viewing peak on New Year's Day.

The Christmas holiday period has always been a popular time of year for iPlayer and in the 2011 festive season, 2 January was the best day BBC iPlayer ever had with 5.4 million TV programmes requested. This was usurped by viewing on 1 January 2013 which revealed 6.7 million TV programme requests.

Commenting on the iPlayer performance, Dave Price is the head of BBC iPlayer, Programmes and On Demand, BBC Future Media,said: “Christmas is always a highlight of the TV calendar…[and] Christmas Day is also a particularly special day for my team…one of our key goals for iPlayer in 2012 was to take it beyond the PC and onto a host of different devices from mobile smartphones and tablets to smart TVs and games consoles. We want to make it as easy as possible to watch and catch up on your favourite programmes. It appears the UK was particularly generous with gifts this Christmas…We've got lots of exciting plans to make iPlayer even better and look forward to sharing them with you in the months to come.”