Advanced Television

Strong March gives iPlayer best quarter

May 8, 2018

Fans of true crime drama series The Assassination of Gianni Versace – American Crime Story have made the show BBC iPlayer’s most popular programme in March.

The first episode of the hit US drama saw 1.6 million requests to take the top spot in March, in a month that proved a big one for drama.

Nineteen of the top 20 most popular BBC iPlayer episodes in March were drama programmes, making it the service’s third-best month on record. This, along with a strong January and February, meant BBC iPlayer reported its best first quarter ever.

Findings show that 315 million programmes were viewed in March, up 15 per cent on the same month last year, with 10.2 million daily requests. The month sits just behind January 2018 (328 million) and December 2017 (327 million) as one of the best BBC iPlayer has ever seen.

March also saw drama fans captivated by the conclusion of Collateral, with 1.2 million requests for the final episode, while JK Rowling’s Strike: Career of Evil also proved popular with 1.1 million requests. The seventh series of Call the Midwife also drew big numbers, with almost 1 million requests for the final episode.

EastEnders fans continued to enjoy the action on BBC iPlayer, with the soap accounting for 11 of the top 20 most-requested episodes. The only non-drama programme to crack the top 20 was the return of comedy This Country, as fans returned for the first episode of the award-winning mockumentary’s second series.

“Drama continues to have an extraordinary year on BBC iPlayer,” remarked Dan McGolpin, controller of programming and daytime for the BBC. “Building on a brilliant January and February, this month drama fans were treated to captivating US drama like The Assassination of Gianni Versace as well as world-class British programmes like Collateral, Strike and the ever-brilliant Call the Midwife. And after the short month in Feb the stats are back to the great performance we saw over Christmas and New Year, with our best March ever and our third best month on record, making for our strongest first quarter ever.”

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