More people are now watching BBC iPlayer on tablets than computers, according to the latest stats from the Beeb.
The monthly report for April shows that tablets made up 30 per cent of TV requests on the broadcaster’s VOD service, overtaking computers (28 per cent) for the first time. Mobiles and tablets combined contributed almost half of all TV requests to BBC iPlayer, indicating just how ingrained into viewing habits the platform is becoming, with people watching things on the bus or the train, as well as in the living room.
It is telling that the profile of BBC iPlayer users remains strongly under-55 in terms of age, younger than the typical TV viewer or radio listener’s profile and more in line with the profile of a typical home broadband user.
TV and radio requests to BBC iPlayer were up 4 per cent year-on-year, with average daily requests at 8.9m – higher than much of last year.
While audiences appear to be more modern, though, they are a mostly traditional bunch: EastEnders is far and away the most popular programme for streaming, making up 16 of the top 20 iPlayer TV episodes in April, boosted by the Lucy Beale murder storyline. Streaming may be the future, but soap operas – that staple of linear living room broadcasts – are going nowhere.
iPlayer received 1.463m requests for one episode of EastEnders, the highest for any show last month. Shrek 2 was the second most popular title, with 1.32 per cent requests. Indeed, the 12th and 15th most popular titles were Gnomeo & Juliet and Madagascar, which clocked up 609,000 views, suggesting that families – or parents – often turn to BBC iPlayer for entertainment for their children.
The second most popular show was Porn: What’s the Harm, its most-watched episode attracting 1.06 million people. Combined with Life and Death Row and Teen Killers: Life without Parole, BBC Three’s documentaries generated almost 2.5 million requests, a sign that not only are online audiences familiar with BBC Three’s non-fiction output but that the channel’s potential move to an iPlayer-only outlet may well be a natural one.
The Crimson Field and The Voice UK Series 3 The Live Final Episode 15 completed the five most-streamed shows last month, with notable demand also for The Trip to Italy (Episode 1 was streamed by 744,000 people), which we recommendeded in our weekly iPlayer Picks. Interestingly, Have I Got News for You was the 17th most popular show, despite much of its topical humour arguably being impacted by the rise of social media among the same audience who use iPlayer.
Soap operas and satirical panel shows? VOD may be transforming the way people view TV, but what they’re watching is as traditional as it gets.
For weekly recommendations of what to watch on BBC iPlayer, see our iPlayer Picks collection.