iPlayer traffic soars over festive period

Summary:Visits to the BBC's iPlayer website increased 14-fold over the period, with traffic rocketing after the full marketing launch on Christmas Day

The BBC's iPlayer website saw a 14-fold increase in traffic during the festive period.

From 8 December, 2007 to 5 January, 2008 visits to the site rocketed following its full marketing launch on Christmas Day, according to web traffic monitoring company Hitwise.

During the week ending 5 January, the site was the 80th most-visited website in the UK and peaked at number 62 on New Year's Day.

Since its launch, iPlayer has attracted criticism as the download version was only available on Microsoft's Windows XP.

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

In an exclusive interview with ZDNet.co.uk's sister site silicon.com, Ashley Highfield, the head of the BBC's Future Media and Technology, suggested a download version of iPlayer for all platforms will emerge in 2008.

The download version recently also became compatible for Windows Vista.

The number of online searches for iPlayer increased by 15 times during the past month, with 18 percent of the site's traffic during the week ending 5 January coming from search engines.

More than half of the traffic came from other BBC websites during the same period, with the official EastEnders and Doctor Who sites being the main sources.

In terms of competitors in the UK, YouTube remains far and away the leader for online video, claiming just under nine percent of all UK internet visits in the week ending 5 January — 12 times as many as iPlayer's streaming service.

UK director of research at Hitwise, Robin Goad, said 2008 could be the year where online video "truly goes mainstream" in the UK due to the broader demographic appeal of iPlayer and other terrestrial broadcaster services — such as 4OD — compared to YouTube.

The BBC said it will release the latest official stats on iPlayer usage next week.

Topics: Networking

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