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iPlayer draws record numbers in 2017

February 12, 2018

BBC iPlayer recorded its best year ever in 2017. Viewers streamed 272 million programmes per month on average over the course of the year, with total requests growing to 3.3 billion – an 11 per cent increase on the previous year.

The most popular show of 2017 was the first episode of natural history series Blue Planet II, with 4.8 million requests. It was followed by the opening episodes of new Tom Hardy period drama Taboo and Doctor Foster (pictured) seeason two.

The year was capped off with BBC iPlayer’s best month on record. December saw 327 million requests, a 17 per cent increase on the same month last year. Requests from connected TV devices are up 34 per cent compared to December 2016. Also up year-on-year compared to December 2016 were requests from mobiles at 19 per cent and computers at 3 per cent.

Dan McGolpin, controller of programming and daytime for the BBC, says: “Viewers are using BBC iPlayer more and more and in 2017 we made that experience better than ever. They delved into landmark factual series such as Blue Planet II and were enthralled by a breath-taking range of drama, from Taboo to Doctor Foster. Over the festive period we provided unexpected treats, bringing back some well-loved boxsets for people to watch in their own time. BBC iPlayer now offers a broader range of relevant choices personalised for all and it will get better still over the coming year.”

2017 was a year of significant change for BBC iPlayer. Box sets played an important role, with new series like Peter Kay’s Car Share, Motherland, Top of the Lake: China Girl and Feud: Bette and Joan made available to watch in full immediately after the first episode had been broadcast. Other shows like Taboo, Apple Tree Yard, Blue Planet II and Doctor Who remained on BBC iPlayer throughout their run and were made available to watch as a box set for 30 days after the final episode of the series aired.

At Christmas, a host of box sets and classic programmes returned to BBC iPlayer so that people could watch them over the holidays, contributing to BBC iPlayer’s best week ever in Christmas week (December 25th to 31st).

BBC iPlayer launched a new category called From The Archive, which allows fans to dive into classic content like Louis Theroux’s Weird Weekend series, Leaving The Cult from the Storyville strand and the full series of Killing For Love. There were also experiments with picture quality, with BBC iPlayer making the entire spectacular series of Blue Planet II available to watch on compatible TVs in Ultra-High Definition and High Dynamic Range, the best picture quality ever shown on the BBC.

A number of personalisation features were rolled out across the year, including the ability to pick up a programme where you left off across multiple devices, and personalised recommendations based on viewing habits. To help make a more personal BBC for everyone, viewers are now required to sign in to watch programmes on BBC iPlayer on both the web and mobile devices.

Dan Taylor-Watt, head of BBC iPlayer, says: “It’s been an extraordinary year for BBC iPlayer. Boxsets were extremely popular, audiences loved watching, and whether enjoying a new series, watching a currently airing programme or indulging in a classic archive show, viewers seem to love it. We also showed one of our most visually spectacular programmes, Blue Planet II, in the best quality ever seen on the BBC, as well as making BBC iPlayer much more personalised. In 2018, we’ll be looking to build on these successes and continue to make BBC iPlayer a must-visit destination in its own right.”

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