iPlayer enjoys 'wonderful start' to 2008

Summary:In the fortnight since Christmas Day, over 3.5 million BBC programmes have been watched using the online, on-demand TV service

More than 3.5 million BBC programmes have been watched using the BBC's online, on-demand iPlayer TV service during the fortnight after Christmas Day.

The programmes were watched by more than one million visitors using the iPlayer during the same period.

The figures include content both streamed and downloaded from the iPlayer site.

On average, a quarter of a million programmes per day were downloaded or streamed and users watched programmes for an average of just under 25 minutes.

The proportion of users streaming content compared to those using the download service was eight to one.

The five most frequently viewed programmes were the Christmas specials of Extras, Doctor Who and The Catherine Tate Show, along with EastEnders and Top Gear.

The top 10 most popular programmes accounted for around a quarter of all programmes viewed.

Ashley Highfield, director of future media and technology at the BBC, said the corporation thought the public's response to the iPlayer represents a "wonderful start".

Highfield added that the fact that almost half the programmes viewed were outside the top 50 most popular showed on-demand services can bring "niche programming to a wider audience".

After its summer beta launch, iPlayer attracted criticism as the download version was only available on Microsoft's Windows XP. However, the download version recently became compatible with Windows Vista.

The streaming version of iPlayer was launched for Windows, Macs and Linux in December.

In an exclusive interview with sister site silicon.com, Ashley Highfield discussed the iPlayer, DRM and more.

Topics: Networking

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