Christmas 2013 on BBC iPlayer

Head of iPlayer, BBC Design & Engineering

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Hello, I'm Dan Taylor and I'm the Head of BBC iPlayer, in BBC Future Media.

Christmas is always a busy time for BBC iPlayer as people seek out the unmissable TV they would otherwise have missed and unwrap new devices capable of accessing iPlayer (of which there are now over 1,000). I was away visiting relatives this Christmas so have spent much of the last few days playing catch up (pun intended).

BBC iPlayer at Christmas

We started the festive season with an early Christmas treat for viewers and fans in the lead-up to the much-anticipated third series of Sherlock. Many Happy Returns has since been viewed over 1.5 million times on BBC iPlayer and BBC Red Button with millions more watching on YouTube.

With new gadgets being at the top of many Christmas wish lists, we see a lot of new devices accessing BBC iPlayer over the holiday period. 2013 truly proved to be the year of the tablet and after they were all unwrapped, Boxing Day saw tablet viewing overtake computer viewing for the first time in iPlayer history.

BBC iPlayer: daily requests for TV programmes by device type (millions).

N.B. The graph above excludes Sky and Virgin Cable viewing since this data arrives later.

Almost a million of you downloaded the iPlayer mobile and tablet apps over the festive period (Saturday 21 December to New Year’s Day), 941,000 of you to be exact, adding to the 20 million app downloads iPlayer reached in October.

Christmas Day TV is all about families gathering around the biggest screen of the house and most viewing on the day is via broadcast TV. BBC iPlayer has an important role as a complementary platform for BBC broadcast programmes, especially on Boxing Day and New Year's Day, when requests on iPlayer really start to peak and you have time to catch-up on the must-watch Christmas programmes.

New Year’s Day 2014 took the crown as iPlayer’s best-ever day so far, with nearly 11 million requests for TV and radio programmes in one day alone (even excluding Sky and Virgin data). New Year’s Day 2013 saw 8.1m so this is an impressive +35% increase.

BBC iPlayer daily requests for TV and radio programmes (millions).

N.B. The graph above excludes Sky and Virgin Cable viewing since this data arrives later.

Christmas 2013 on BBC iPlayer

This year we saw 102 million requests for TV and Radio programmes (80m for TV, 22m for radio ) throughout the festive period (21 Dec - 1 Jan, excluding Virgin Cable data which is not yet available).

Throughout this period:

Dr Who – The Time of the Doctor was the most popular programme, followed by Eastenders and Mrs Brown’s Boys Christmas Special. Other top performing programmes were Call the Midwife, Gangsta Granny and Still Open All Hours (see table below for the top 20)

Programme Requests (millions):

1 Doctor Who - The Time of the Doctor 1.964

2 EastEnders - 25 Dec 1.595

3 EastEnders - 26 Dec 1.380

4 Mrs Brown's Boys Christmas Special 1 - 1.364

5 EastEnders - 27 Dec 1.257

6 Call the Midwife Christmas Special - 1.021

7 Gangsta Granny - 1.016

8 EastEnders - 31 Dec 0.961

9 EastEnders - 30 Dec 0.937

10 EastEnders - 24 Dec 0.922

11 EastEnders - 23 Dec 0.872

12 Still Open All Hours - 26 Dec 0.842

13 Mrs Brown's Boys Christmas Special 2 - 0.820

14 EastEnders - 20 Dec 0.793

15 Death Comes to Pemberley Episode 1 - 0.771

16 Citizen Khan Series 2 Episode 7 - 0.751

17 Michael McIntyre's Showtime - 25 Dec 0.643

18 Strictly Come Dancing Series 11 Grand Final - 0.626

19 Nativity! - 0.586

20 Atlantis - Episode 12 Part 1 0.584

Happy New Year from BBC iPlayer

I hope you've had a great Christmas and are looking forward to what lies ahead in 2014. We certainly are, as we’re working hard to make iPlayer even better and look forward to bringing a new and improved iPlayer to you later on this year.

I always appreciate your feedback, so please leave a comment below. Here’s to a great 2014!

Dan Taylor is Head of BBC iPlayer, BBC Future Media.

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