After marking down several of their own records being broken in a highly successful year, the BBC’s iPlayer service have announced that the entire year of 2012 unsurprisingly broke a numerous records in itself, with an unprecedented level of interest in the multi-platform content hub.
The main headlines from the BBC’s report included the fact that users collectively viewed over 36 billion minutes (around 68,500 years) of content during 2012 across multiple (650) devices, noted as 34% up on 2011, while there were a total of 2.32b requests across all TV and radio content. This included a 177% increase in the level of users accessing iPlayer via their mobile devices, representing a quarter of all requests, though desktop versions still remain the most popular way to watch the free online content.
The mobile app versions of the iPlayer are recognised as being downloaded over 14m times over the year, peaking on Christmas Day with 300,000 as people clearly downloaded one of the most high-profile apps as one of the first items on their new devices.
A new feature tailored towards such users was the launch of ‘mobile downloads’ in September (enabling later viewing of content), and saw 10.8m programmes saved for later viewing on Apple devices alone, while it was also recognised that on tablet computers and smartphones, download hits constitute 6% of all requests. The other headlining new feature, ‘Live Restart’ was noted as being used by 30% of TV viewers since it launched in June.
Program-wise, the highest-performing broadcast was the Opening Ceremony to the 2012 Olympic Games, earning a total of 3.33m requests, with individual episodes of popular regular shows Top Gear (2.83m) and Sherlock (2.53m) rounding out the ‘medal positions’.
For shows in their own right, Top Gear was noted as dominating the top 20 list with all 8 episodes listed amongst the service’s Top 20 most-requested programmes. Also on that list were episodes of Sherlock, Doctor Who, The Voice UK, and ‘controversial’ Muslim sitcom Citizen Khan, with remaining places filled out by broadcasts from the 2012 Olympic Games. For radio, the three most-requested programmes for 2012 were a live performance from Jay-Z at the Radio 1 Hackney Weekend, a broadcast of Wallace and Gromit at the Proms, and Rihanna performing live at the same Radio 1 Hackney Weekend.
While December was noted as the most popular month of the year for the iPlayer (with 217m total program requests), the popularity of the service shows no sign of stopping, with New Year’s Day 2013 (1 January) registering 6.7m requests for TV alone, marking the most-ever requests in a 24-hour period and immediately taking one of 2012’s records away.
The BBC’s programmes and on-demand general manager Daniel Danker said of the ‘ground-breaking year’ seen in 2012: “Last year, the use of iPlayer shifted from PCs and early adopter devices like game consoles to screens used by all audiences. Mobile, tablet, and connected TV skyrocketed, with a particular emphasis on audiences taking iPlayer on the go. This year , we’re looking forward to turning iPlayer into an entertainment destination, with a relentless focus on making iPlayer as easy and enjoyable as television.”
Despite the ambition that will most likely be matched in a greater overall interest towards iPlayer, it will be interesting to see how 2013 performs against the high numbers of 2012 that were carried mainly by the Olympic wave in the second half of the year, so how many records will actually be re-broken in 12 month’s time?