Advanced Television

World Cup boost for iPlayer

January 31, 2023

By Colin Mann

BBC iPlayer has seen its best year ever, breaking 7 billion streams for the first time ever. 2022 grew 9 per cent on 2021, and ended the year with both the best month and best quarter iPlayer has ever seen, with 700 million streams for December and 2 billion streams between October and December.

The World Cup capped the year in spectacular fashion, streamed a huge 92 million times on iPlayer, while also reaching 38.8 million on BBC TV.

Other data revealed by the BBC include:

  • The return of Peaky Blinders was the top episode of the year, streamed 6.9 million times across the year, with over 55 million streams for the boxset
  • Other top boxsets of the year include Doctor Who (56m streams), Waterloo Road (2006-2015) (46m streams), and Death in Paradise (46m streams)
  • Sporting events were also among the most-watched programmes of the year, including Commonwealth Games (53m streams, plus reached 28.6 million on BBC TV) and Wimbledon (43m streams, plus reached 27.4 million on BBC TV)
  • New dramas dominate the most watched episodes per series of the year – with The Tourist, The Responder, SAS Rogue Heroes, Inside Man, Sherwood and This is Going to Hurt all making the top ten most streamed episodes
  • EastEnders enjoyed its best year ever on iPlayer, streamed 366 million times

“2022 saw huge growth for BBC iPlayer; 7 billion streams is double where we were a few years ago,” notes Dan McGolpin, Director of BBC iPlayer. “Alongside the big events like the World Cup and the outstanding coverage of the State Funeral for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, people arrived in their millions to watch an array of big drama boxsets including the final series of Peaky Blinders and a large number of brand new series such as The Tourist, The Responder and SAS Rogue Heroes.  Over the last year, we’ve added more choice than ever before in every genre, with plenty more in store for 2023.”

The most-watched programmes across 2022*:

Rank Programme Streams
1 FIFA World Cup 2022 92,267,000
2 Doctor Who 56,100,000
3 Peaky Blinders 55,609,000
4 Commonwealth Games 52,781,000
5 Waterloo Road (2006-15) 46,380,000
6 Death in Paradise 46,091,000
7 Strictly Come Dancing 44,909,000
8 Silent Witness 44,665,000
9 Wimbledon 42,678,000
10 Match of the Day 40,451,000

The top episodes per series in 2022:

Rank Programmes Episode Streams
1 Peaky Blinders Series 6 – Black Day 6,925,000
2 The Tourist Series 1 – Episode 1 6,428,000
3 The Responder Series 1 – Episode 1 6,164,000
4 FIFA World Cup 2022 England v Iran 5,592,000
5 SAS Rogue Heroes Series 1 – Episode 1 5,526,000
6 The State Funeral of HM Queen Elizabeth II London 5,043,000
7 Inside Man Series 1 – Episode 1 5,028,000
8 The Apprentice Series 16 – Cruise Ship 4,889,000
9 Sherwood Series 1 – Episode 1 4,855,000
10 This Is Going To Hurt Series 1 – Episode 1 4,753,000

* Excluding continuing series such as EastEnders, news and children’s content


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