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BBC breaks online viewing record with World Cup

The BBC reported a “record-breaking” 66.8 million live and on-demand requests on BBC iPlayer and BBC sport for this summer’s Russia World Cup, which concluded at the weekend.

The BBC said that England’s quarter-final match against Sweden became the BBC’s highest online-viewed live programme ever with 3.8m (3.9m including on-demand) live requests on BBC iPlayer and BBC Sport.

Across the whole tournament, the UK public broadcaster achieved a record 56.3m live-stream match requests – up from a total of 15.9 million during the Brazil 2014 World Cup.

Unique browser numbers for the BBC’s World Cup web pages also climbed from 32.3 million UK unique browsers in 2014 to 49.2 million this summer.

Other stats revealed by the BBC were that its VR app was downloaded more than 400,000 times, and more than 2.5 million people signed up for a BBC Account – a requirement for watching live and on-demand content via the iPlayer.

“This World Cup has seen a huge increase in people following the action over the internet, through BBC Sport and BBC iPlayer,” said Neil Hall, head of sport product, BBC Design and Engineering.

“We continue to improve things behind-the-scenes and create new experiences that make these major events even more engaging for our audiences.”

In total the BBC said that audience reach for its World Cup coverage – at 15 minutes or more watched – came to 44.5 million people. This was up from 40.7 million for Brazil 2014.

“We have just witnessed one of the most memorable World Cup tournaments ever which has captivated football fans across the United Kingdom,” said Barbara Slater, director of BBC Sport.

“The interest in the tournament and the achievement of England winning through to the semi-finals has been proven in the record-breaking figures for TV and online. It shows the impact that top quality sport can have when made freely available to everyone.”

Tags: BBC, online, World Cup