BBC iPlayer Replacing Linear TV With Record Requests

New figures released by the BBC for October viewing statistics have claimed that the BBC iPlayer online catch-up service is slowly making an impact on the long-held linear TV viewing patterns of the UK market’s public, with peaks occurring in similar hours to that of TV viewers.

The move comes after October was recorded as breaking the iPlayer’s own record for ‘video requests’ in a month, hitting 213 million TV and radio requests combined over the 31-day period (with half of the month including the new ‘iPlayer Radio’ platform) and breaking the 200m barrier for the first time, with shows such as Merlin, Russell Howard’s Good News, The Great British Bake-Off, and one-off special Top Gear: 50 Years of Bond Cars amongst the most popular programmes.

The broadcaster claims that such shows (part of their ‘autumn TV schedule’) and the widespread use of the service across desktop and connected products (including portable devices (representing 23% of all requests) and connected TV sets (20%)) are the main things that attribute to the rise of on-demand views. As expected, the iPlayer services overall continue to be used most by audiences in the ‘under-55′ age demographics.

Further information from the statistics include that despite the heavy on-demand increases, requests for live streaming have dropped to levels that were common before the 2012 Olympic Games (now at around 12% of all views), though the new radio platform is turning in strong ‘live’ proportions of 75%, which will be naturally attributed to the difference in consumption between the two genres.

The BBC explained this trend and the differences between linear and on-demand viewing figures, stating: “BBC iPlayer is used [most often] for TV at roughly the same time of day as linear TV viewing, although there is proportionally more daytime and late-peak use. For radio, BBC iPlayer is used far more in daytime than traditional radio listening, which peaks at breakfast-time.”

While the broadcaster claims through their numbers that the actual viewing figures of the iPlayer are usually at least 60 times higher than that of total TV audiences across the day, the continuing development of the free online service is an interesting one that looks set to continue, but how much more of an impact can the platform make on traditional viewing habits?


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