Sports fans helped BBC iPlayer get off to a flying start this summer. The second half of the FIFA World Cup and Wimbledon helped BBC iPlayer grow 19 per cent year-on-year in July, with requests reaching 281 million for the month.
Given the amount of sport available to watch, July was inevitably a big month for live viewing, making up 22 per cent of all requests, but in fact June was even bigger. Thanks to the group stage of the FIFA World Cup, live TV requests went up to 26 per cent of all requests on BBC iPlayer – the highest share of live viewing since the Rio Olympics 2016.
The FIFA World Cup dominated the July’s most popular episodes on BBC iPlayer, with England’s quarter-final game against Sweden taking the top spot with 3.1 million requests. France’s semi-final against Belgium was second with over 2 million requests, and Belgium’s quarter-final against Brazil took third with 1.8 million.
Outside of the football, Our Girl continued to prove popular with 1.5 million requests for the fifth episode, and new dramas Picnic at Hanging Rock and Hidden both made their way into the top 20 most popular episodes of the month. Also popular was new adventure travel show The Misadventures of Romesh Ranganathan, which had 1.1 million requests for its first episode.
Dan Taylor-Watt, head of BBC iPlayer, said: “It’s been an incredible summer of sport on the BBC, and that together with our summer box sets selection has helped BBC iPlayer to grow strongly on last year. England’s quarter-final against Sweden was the BBC’s highest online-viewed live programme ever.”