BBC iPlayer had its biggest ever festive season this year, reveal new viewing figures, as EastEnders, Outnumbered and Sherlock brought audiences in by the million.
The long-running soap is always a major driver of activity on BBC iPlayer and Christmas was no exception, as people rushed to catch up on the important seasonal episodes in between roast dinners and present unwrapping. Half of the top 20 most popular shows on BBC iPlayer during the festive season were episodes of EastEnders, with the New Year’s Day episode the most popular, generating 1.3 million requests.
The week of New Year (26th December to 1st January) saw 69.3 million requests, more than any other week in BBC iPlayer’s history. December 2016 was also BBC iPlayer’s best month ever, seeing 281 million requests across the month.
EastEnders, Mrs Brown’s Boys, Outnumbered and Sherlock were the most popular shows on BBC iPlayer during its biggest ever festive season.
Of the 10 most-requested episodes per series, the first Mrs Brown’s Boys Christmas Special (1.25m) was second, the Outnumbered Christmas Special (1.246m) third and the return of Sherlock (1.23m) fourth. The top five was completed by the Call the Midwife Christmas special (1.02m), just ahead of the Doctor Who Christmas special (998k) and the first episode of Agatha Christie adaptation Witness for the Prosecution (934k).
Connected TVs continue to be the device people use most to watch BBC iPlayer content, growing 7 per cent on 2015 to reach a weekly average in December of 7.48 million unique browsers. This was followed by tablets at 4.19 million, mobiles at 3.6 million, and computers 3.55 million.
New Year’s Eve saw a big surge in live viewing, accounting for 75 per cent of all requests between 11pm and 1am. It was particularly popular on mobiles, driving an 80 per cent spike around the turn of the year at midnight, when the Beeb broadcast fireworks and Jools Hollands to see in the 2017.
Other popular programmes included The Great British Bake Off’s Christmas outing (901k), Match of the Day’s round-up of Boxing Day matches (745k) and the Last Tango in Halifax (659k).
For a full guide to the highlights of the festive schedule, including reviews and how long you have left to watch them, see our Christmas catch-up TV guide.