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Top Gear' drives BBC iPlayer usage - 23-December-2009, 21:20

Top Gear' drives BBC iPlayer usage

Wednesday, December 23 2009, 13:03 GMT

By Andrew Laughlin,

Top Gear was the most requested programme on BBC iPlayer in 2009, with over 1.2m streams for episode one of the new series, it has been revealed.

As the on-demand platform approaches its second birthday on Christmas Day, around five million unique users are now accessing the service each week to catch up on BBC programming.

Last month, iPlayer drew in a record 88.2m requests, including 59.6m for TV programmes and 28.6m for radio shows. On-demand remains the primary way of accessing TV content, with just 7% of requests in November for live simulcast streams compared to two-third of all radio streams.

According to figures from January 1 to December 13 published today by the BBC, episode one from series 13 of Top Gear was the most requested TV programme, with 1,671,100 total streams.

The opening episode from series 14 of the motoring programme was next with 1,299,200 streams, followed by Michael McIntyre's Comedy Roadshow with 1,173,300.

BNP leader Nick Griffin's controversial appearance on Question Time in October also registered strongly, coming in fifth place with 939,400 streams, just behind episode one from series three of comedy Gavin & Stacey with 972,700.

Test Match Special's coverage of the Ashes cricket tournament rated the most popular radio content with 183,300 streams, followed by series 51 of I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue (167,000) and 5 Live's coverage of the 2009/10 Premier League season to date (162,700).

Since its launch on Christmas Day 2007, iPlayer is now available on over 20 different devices, including digital TV, games consoles and mobile phones.

The BBC said that computers are still the primary way of accessing iPlayer, accounting for 86% of requests, but usage is growing on other platforms, such as the recently re-launched Nintendo Wii service.

After analysing trends, the BBC found that users generally access iPlayer at roughly the same time of day as linear TV, but the service does see proportionally more daytime and late peak usage.

Mac and PS3 users tend to watch more comedy shows, while PC and Virgin Media users prefer to access dramas, such as EastEnders and Waking The Dead. Mobile users tend to access iPlayer on their phones between 7pm and midnight, although traffic is lower on Fridays and Saturdays.

BBC director of future media and technology Erik Huggers said: "These figures show people are making the most of the choice they now have - whether it's watching EastEnders on your PC during your lunch break, listening to Desert Island Discs on the bus or watching Mock The Week in bed, viewing patterns change depending on the time and location of the audience.

"We'll be looking to increase the availability of the BBC iPlayer on new platforms and devices in coming months and are looking towards more success in 2010."

Last month, the Royal Television Society honoured iPlayer by comparing the catch-up platform to other great British innovations such as the steam engine and Viagra.

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