BBC iPlayer requests up by a third, tablet use expands rapidly

iplayer ipadRequests on the BBC iPlayer catch-up service grew by a third in 2013, with 2.2 billion requests for TV shows and 800 million radio requests across all platforms, according to the latest statistics released by the UK public broadcaster.

Requests from tablet devices grew by 104% in the course of the year, with a total of 20% of total TV and radio iPlayer requests in December coming from tablets.

The BBC iPlayer mobile app has meanwhile been downloaded 20 million times, with 942,000 downloads over the Christmas period.

PCs remain the biggest platform, accounting for 43% of all requests over the course of the year. However, mobile and tablet requests overtook PCs for the first time over the Christmas holiday period.

Top Gear led the list of programmes requested, accounting for 10 of the top 20 shows, led by 3.4 million requests for its Africa Special Part 1 and 3.2 million requests for the first episode of series 19. Other top shows requested included Doctor Who, Bad Education, Miranda, The Voice UK, Africa and the film Madagascar.

Victoria Jaye, head of TV content for BBC iPlayer, said that the BBC plans to launch more exclusive content for iPlayer this year, following the success of mini-episodes of Sherlock and Doctor Who created exclusively for iPlayer as well as the premiering of certain shows on the platform.

“2013 has been a fantastic year for iPlayer. We’ve begun the journey to transform iPlayer from a TV catch-up service into an online TV destination in its own right with the introduction of iPlayer exclusive content and programme premiering,” said Jaye. “We’re delighted by the audience response to both. As we move into 2014, we will originate more exclusive programmes for iPlayer, as well as offer an ambitious range of content to complement our biggest brands and events.”