BBC audiences regularly checked in with their favourite doctor this autumn, as iPlayer activity grew.
The autumn months are always a good time for streaming services, as the nights draw in and the TV schedules fill up, leaving viewers clamouring for the nearest catch-up site to keep on top of things. BBC iPlayer usage, then, would be expected to increase at this time of year, but the site’s activity is growing year-on-year too: there were 313 million TV and radio requests for programmes on BBC iPlayer in October, with 15 million more TV requests than in October last year.
The figures are down from 334 million in September, although this data is not entirely accurate, due to technical issues with the Beeb. (TV requests are expected to be inflated by around 18-25 per cent for that month.)
But the annual growth is significant: there were an average of 10.1m daily requests on BBC iPlayer in October 2015, up by half a million from October 2014.
To highlight just how much iPlayer has developed, just 8 per cent of TV requests were for live viewing last month, a stark contrast to the less developed ITV Player, where around a third of requests are for live viewing. Requests from computers, mobiles and tablets all increased (up 5 per cent, 9 per cent and 8 per cent respectively).
The Apprentice, unsurprisingly, topped the most-watched programmes list for October, with Episode 2 receiving 1.9 million requests, while the finale of The Great British Bake Off also performed well. But the BBC also proved that its emphasis on original drama is justified, with Doctor Foster proving hugely popular.
The first episode of the marital drama hit 1.97m streams and downloads for its first episode in September, even outperforming Doctor Who (1.55m). Lady Chatterley’s Lover also joined the million-views club, with 1.09m requests, with The Go-Between (another of the Beeb’s high-profile Sunday night drama series) clocking up 678k views.
Tellingly, viewers stuck with Doctor Foster throughout its run, bucking the usual trend for drop-offs as a show progresses: both Episodes 4 and 5 of the drama hit over 1.8m views apiece, with the finale also receiving many requests – all figures that rival the demand for GBBO, Episode 11 of which generated 1.6m requests. (The first episodes of River and The Last Kingdom also made it into the top 20 charts in September, with just over 1m and 767k requests respectively.)
The month’s figures are among the first to include BBC iPlayer’s exclusive content as well as normal catch-up activity. While not many make the top flight of the popularity chart – despite a timely release for Halloween horror-themed film Fear Itself – the data highlights the appeal of iPlayer originals that tie into traditional broadcasts: Matt Edmondson’s Meet The Candidates (a preview for The Apprentice) performed well, with 1.1m requests, while the Doctor Who Prologue for Season 9 earned 869k requests in September – enough to put it in the top 20 in a quieter month.