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Dr Who and Top Gear drive BBC iPlayer to record levels

BBC on-demand service deals with 120 million programme requests in a month
Written by Tim Ferguson, Contributor

BBC on-demand service deals with 120 million programme requests in a month

BBC iPlayer received more than 120 million TV and radio programme requests during January 2010, the highest monthly figures ever recorded for the online TV service.

The 120.3 million requests include streamed on-demand and downloaded programmes and content viewed on iPlayer at the same time as broadcast on linear television (simulcasts).

The figure for all platforms (online, devices and Virgin Media's cable TV service) is almost double the number of requests made in January 2009 (61.5 million).

iPlayer homepage Feb 2009

iPlayer is going from strength to strength fuelled by users catching up on Christmas programmes

The figures below exclude data from Virgin Media however, as the BBC has yet to receive all the statistics from this platform.

January saw the highest ever number of programme requests in a single week, reaching 23.8 million between 4 January and 10 January. These requests were made by 5.9 million users and included a record eight million radio requests.

In terms of the split between TV and radio, excluding requests made via the Virgin Media service, 68.2 million were for TV content and the remaining 32.3 million for radio. This adds up to 100.5 million requests, meaning 19.8 million of the total iPlayer requests were accessed via Virgin Media in January.

The average number of programme requests per day was 3.2 million, with 2.2 million for TV and one million for radio. These requests were made by an average of 1.3 million users per day.

On-demand remains the most common way in which people view iPlayer, with just eight per cent of TV requests being for live simulcast streams. In contrast, 74 per cent of radio requests were for live programmes.

According to the BBC, PCs and Macs continued to be the main source of content requests although the use of the Nintendo Wii increased in terms of its total share of requests.

The figures were boosted by users catching up on content they'd missed from the Christmas period. The most requested programme in January was an episode of Top Gear with slightly more than 1.1 million requests. This was followed by the second part of the Doctor Who Christmas special with 831,000 requests.

Cricket coverage dominated in radio although Chris Evans' debut on the Radio 2 breakfast show generated significant demand on 11 January.

iPlayer users continue to be around 60 per cent male and 40 per cent female and strongly in the under-55 age range.

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