BBC iPlayer got off to a strong start in 2015, with its best month ever.
Requests for TV and radio programmes on the Beeb’s streaming service totalled 343 million last month, with 265 million requests recorded for television alone.
January has consistently been a popular month for iPlayer usage, partly because of the boost that New Year’s Day provides. Following the festive period, though, requests from mobiles and tablets increased to make up 48 per cent of activity in January, their highest ever level.
TV requests jumped 9 per cent year-on-year, compared to the same month in 2013, while average daily requests broke the 11 million barrier for only the second time (the last was in November 2014).
That demand was partly driven by the seasonal special episodes of shows such as EastEnders, Top Gear and Miranda. EastEnders, Top Gear, The Voice and Waterloo Road all have multiplied episodes in the most popular chart, with the New Year’s Day EastEnders topping the overall leaderdbard with 1.9 million requests. The soap was followed by 1.8m for Top Gear’s specials and 1.7m for the second Christmas episode – and final farewell – of Miranda.
First episodes for new winter series, including Silent Witness, Wolf Hall and The Dumping Ground, were also popular, as well as documentaries, such as episodes from the Super-Rich season, and BBC Three’s Excluded.
Wolf Hall was the eighth most popular show, with Episode 1 racking up 1.27 million requests. As the show lost viewers over its run, it will be interesting to see how many of those tuned out on Wednesday nights to instead catch-up at a time when they could pay more attention online. Alternatively, it may not be to many users’ tastes: while the profile of BBC iPlayer users has evened out over time in terms of male/female ratio, it remains strongly under-55 in terms of age, which is younger than the typical TV viewer or radio listener’s profile.