Over 42 million programmes accessed on BBC iPlayer in first three months

Wednesday, April 9th, 2008
BBC iPlayer logo

BBC research released today reveals that BBC iPlayer has enjoyed significant growth in the first three months since its Christmas Day marketing launch.

The total number of requests for downloads and streams of BBC programmes in March was 17.2 million, rising from 14 million in February, and 11.2 million in January.

Total and daily stream and download requests by month
Month Total stream/
download requests
Daily stream/
download requests
Jan 2008 11.2 million 360,000+
Feb 2008 14.0 million 480,000+
Mar 2008 17.2 million 550,000+

This represents a growth of approximately 25% month-on-month, and contributes to the total of over 42 million programmes accessed on-demand since the Christmas marketing launch.

Average weekly users of BBC iPlayer reached 1.1 million in March, up from January’s average of 750,000 users. The average daily number of requests to download or stream programmes via BBC iPlayer easily broke through the half a million barrier in March, registering 550,000+ daily requests to stream or download, growing from an average of 360,000+ requests in January.

The first episode of the current series of The Apprentice (BBC One) is the most streamed BBC programme on BBC iPlayer in its first three months, while Louis Theroux: Behind Bars (BBC Two), in which the celebrated documentary-maker investigates America’s penal system, is the second most streamed programme.

Other titles appearing in the top 20 include the award-winning sitcom Gavin And Stacey (one of four BBC Three titles in the top 20), and BBC One’s coverage of the England v France clash in Six Nations Rugby.

Ashes To Ashes (BBC One), EastEnders (BBC One) and Torchwood (BBC Two) all perform strongly, each appearing more than once in the top 20 most streamed programmes.

Ashley Highfield, BBC Director of Future Media and Technology, comments: “BBC iPlayer continues to show significant growth and we are delighted that audiences are responding to it so positively.

“Its initial performance proves the case not only for BBC iPlayer, but for all video-on-demand services over the internet, and benefits both our audiences and the industry as a whole. We continue to work closely with the internet service providers with a view to driving the next generation of broadband internet access.”

Jana Bennett, BBC Director of Vision, comments: “The depth and range of the BBC’s programming is genuinely prospering in an on-demand world. The series opener of The Apprentice was the first programme to break through 100,000 requests to view in a single day, and then added 200,000 further requests to view over the week it was available.

“Audiences are picking up on the big drama, factual and entertainment highlights of the season after the linear broadcast, as well as embracing the best of BBC Three. Within the last few days, the season premiere of the new series of Doctor Who generated over a 150,000 requests in a single day, which bodes well for the future.”

Last week’s Penguins April Fool – in which a camera crew filming a colony of penguins were astonished when they took to the Antarctic skies – also helped BBC iPlayer achieve record-breaking daily user figures: on 1 April, BBC iPlayer received just short of 1 million requests to stream and download, almost doubling its traffic overnight.

Additionally, to date there have been in excess of one and a half million views of the penguins on YouTube, and on the day it was YouTube’s most viewed video.