A festive feast of box sets helped BBC iPlayer achieve its best week on record this Christmas.
Bringing the fight to Netflix, the Beeb’s catch-up service served up a whole host of box sets in December to bring binge-watching fans to the site – from Peaky Blinders and Line of Duty to Happy Valley and Sherlock. The extra content has so far been requested more than 29.4 million times – an average of 1.7 million times a day.
Peaky Blinders has been a particular hit, clocking up more than 8m requests so far.
The resulting surge in streaming helped BBC iPlayer to record its best ever week, as viewers spent more time on iPlayer and watched more shows than in any other week in the platform’s history. Christmas week (Monday 25th December to Sunday 31st December) broke iPlayer’s seven-day record, both for requests (69.2 million) and for weekly hours (25.6 million). That was considerably up on the same week last year, when there were 58.6m requests and 22.5m hours watched.
The record BBC iPlayer figures come on top of strong viewing figures for BBC One’s Christmas Day TV, with 9.6 million watching Call the Midwife on TV, 9 million seeing Mrs Brown’s Boys Christmas Special, and more than 8 million tuning in to see the Strictly Christmas Special and EastEnders.
The most popular show on BBC iPlayer over the whole festive period (18th to 31st December) was the EastEnders Christmas Day episode, which saw 1.627 million requests, as tragedy struck the Branning family on the roof of the Queen Vic. Indeed, EastEnders has nine episodes in the month’s top 20 chart, which also saw strong showings for the Apprentice final, the finale of Peaky Blinders fourth series (1.397m), Doctor Who’s Twice Upon a Time special (1.045m) and the Mrs Brown’s Boys Christmas special (1.033m).
Charlotte Moore, BBC Director of Content, says: “It’s hugely exciting to see such unprecedented numbers come to BBC iPlayer this Christmas. The public have responded in their millions to the amazing range of content we’ve offered – and for those who are loving our special Christmas box set collection there are still a few days to go.”
The box sets will be removed from BBC iPlayer on 15th January. Read our reviews and highlights of the bunch here.