Top Gear tops BBC iPlayer downloads over Christmas
James R | On 08, Jan 2015
Top Gear was the most-watched TV programme on BBC iPlayer over Christmas, beating last year’s favourite, Doctor Who.
Part 1 of the Top Gear Patagonia Special received 2.08 million requests (including streams and downloads) during the festive period, taking seasonal activity on the VOD service to an all-time high.
December saw a record-breaking 227 million requests (excluding Sky and Virgin Cable), which is up 25 per cent compared to December 2013.
Christmas week, in particularly, was a record-breaking period, with 54.5 million requests, while New Year’s Day saw 5.2 million unique browsers viewing content – the best day on record in the history of BBC iPlayer
The figures mark the growing shift towards on-demand in the UK at a time when viewers face the most competition for the TV screen.
Indeed, mobiles and tablets drove the greatest increase in BBC iPlayer usage, both delivering more requests than computers over Christmas week, as people caught up with programmes at the most convenient time for them on their preferred screen. (It is no coincidence, of course, that the BBC experienced a spike in app downloads (150,000) on Christmas Day, as new gadgets were tried out.)
A survey by the broadcaster also found that a quarter of viewers “binged” by watching two or more episodes back-to-back.
Christmas collections – highlighting programmes available from each day during the holidays – accounted for 14 per cent of traffic from the iPlayer homepage to specific programme pages, with the Jeremy Clarkson-led car special racing ahead of the pack.
EastEnders was the second most popular show by individual episode, with the Christmas Day episode watched by 1.69 million people – also ahead of last year’s number one, Doctor Who. Peter Capaldi’s first festive outing (Last Christmas) was viewed by 1.07 million, closely followed by The Boy in the Dress (1.06 million). People were hooked on Albert Square most of all, though, as the soap opera’s storyline kept people coming back throughout the holidays: the EastEnders episodes on Boxing Day, Christmas Eve and the 22nd and 23rd of December all received over 1 million requests, along with the last ever episode of Miranda (1.26 million).
Curiously, the Beeb also found certain programmes were more popular on some devices. EastEnders took precedence on tablets and mobiles, while Mrs Brown’s Boys did particularly well on connected TVs and The Boy in the Dress took second place on tablets. Is that because people crept away to the loo for their latest soap fix? Or because Mrs. Brown’s Boys was more popular among groups to watch as a family on a bigger screen? Either way, Top Gear was in the top three shows across all devices (computer, mobile, tablet and connected TVs).