Lockdown gives iPlayer record numbers

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These unprecedented times have seen the vast majority of Brits spending much more time at home than usual, and with more time on their hands, viewers are turning to BBC iPlayer in record-breaking numbers.

The BBC reports that:

  • BBC iPlayer’s biggest-ever day was May 10th, with 22.5 million requests, and 1.1 million requests for the Prime Minister’s statement.
  • Since lockdown was announced on March 23rd, BBC iPlayer has seen 927 million requests – 61 per cent higher than the same 7-week period last year.
  • The success of BBC Three’s hit new drama Normal People, which has had over 28 million requests to date and the continued popularity of Killing Eve contributed to iPlayer’s most successful week ever, with 146 million requests between April 27th – May 3rd.
  • April was the biggest month BBC iPlayer has ever seen, with 564 million requests.
  • In the first three months of 2020, BBC iPlayer saw a record 1.4 billion requests, up 34 per cent on the same quarter in 2019.

“This has been a unique period in our history and I’m pleased that BBC iPlayer has been able to make such a positive contribution to what so many people are watching,” declared Controller of BBC iPlayer Dan McGolpin. “It’s delivered the latest news whenever we want it, it’s been there for children and grown-ups who need to learn something new and it’s provided a place to escape, whatever the mood. From Bitesize Daily to Race Across the World, from Normal People to Killing Eve, people are finding more to watch on BBC iPlayer than ever before.”

Initially, growth was driven by people coming to BBC iPlayer for news, particularly the lockdown announcement itself, where the Prime Minister’s address received 900,000 requests. There was also a big increase in requests for children’s shows, including Bing, Hey Duggee and Numberblocks in this initial period. As the lockdown period has gone on, demand for drama and comedy programmes has grown strongly. The new series of Our Girl has also done well, and the escapism of travel entertainment series Race Across the World has proved popular with viewers too.

Viewers flocked to comedies such as Gavin And Stacey and Mrs Brown’s Boys during lockdown, and the conclusion of This Country has been the most popular comedy programme. People have also been turning to classic BBC box sets on iPlayer during these times, with series such as Waterloo Road, Spooks, Doctor Who and Call the Midwife all performing very well.

Younger viewers have also been able to turn to iPlayer for educational programmes. Requests for Bitesize Daily grew more than tenfold from the day that it launched.

The most popular episodes since lockdown are:

Rank Series Episode Requests
1 Killing Eve – Series 3 Episode 1 – Slowly Slowly Catchy Monkey 5.17m
2 Killing Eve – Series 3 Episode 2 – Management Sucks 3.69m
3 The Nest Episode 1 3.63m
4 Killing Eve – Series 3 Episode 3 – Meetings Have Biscuits 3.26m
5 Normal People Episode 1 3.13m
6 Normal People Episode 2 2.86m
7 The Nest Episode 2 2.85m
8 Normal People Episode 3 2.63m
9 Normal People Episode 5 2.55m
10 The Nest Episode 3 2.53m

The most popular episodes per series since lockdown have been:

Rank Programme Episode Requests
1 Killing Eve – Series 3 Episode 1 – Slowly Slowly Catchy Monkey 5.17m
2 The Nest Episode 1 3.63m
3 Normal People Episode 1 3.13m
4 Our Girl – Series 4 Episode 1 1.91m
5 EastEnders 23/03/2020 1.59m
6 Race Across the World – Series 2 Episode 1 1.50m
7 This Country – Series 3 Episode 6 – Harvest 1.38m
8 Killing Eve – Series 1 Episode 1 – Nice Face 1.23m
9 Prime Ministerial Statement A Statement from the Prime Minister 1.10m
10 BBC News Special  10/05/20 1.10m

The most popular episodes in Q1 were:

Rank Programme Episode Requests
1 Dracula Episode 1 – The Rules of the Beast 3.26m
2 The Split – Series 2 Episode 6 2.96m
3 The Split – Series 2 Episode 1 2.93m
4 The Split – Series 2 Episode 5 2.90m
5 The Split – Series 2 Episode 4 2.84m
6 The Split – Series 2 Episode 3 2.72m
7 Dracula Episode 2 – Blood Vessel 2.59m
8 Silent Witness – Series 23 Episode 1 – Deadhead, Part 1 2.53m
9 The Split – Series 2 Episode 2 2.47m
10 Dracula Episode 2 –  The Dark Compass 2.23m

The most popular episodes per series in Q1 were:

Rank Programme Episode Requests
1 Dracula Episode 1 – The Rules of the Beast 3.26m
2 The Split – Series 2 Episode 6 2.96m
3 Silent Witness – Series 23 Episode 1 – Deadhead, Part 1 2.53m
4 Top Gear – Series 28 Episode 1 2.20m
5 Call the Midwife – Series 9 Episode 1 2.10m
6 Doctor Who – Series 12 Episode 1 – Spyfall, Part 1 2.04m
7 This Country – Series 3 Episode 1 – A Letter from Slugs 2.02m
8 EastEnders 01/01/2020 1.97m
9 The Trial of Christine Keeler Episode 1 1.94m
10 Noughts + Crosses Episode 1 1.80m

 


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