The BBC iPlayer service has had more tablet requests than from computers for the first time since the service began, showing how dominant tablets are becoming with online TV viewers.
Popular tablets such as the iPad and the Galaxy Tab were most catch-up viewers choice of hardware for connecting to the BBC iPlayer last year, beating computers, laptops, phones and Smart TV’s. The tablet activity prompted iPlayer boss Dan Taylor to call 2013 the, “year of the tablet”.
The iPlayer app had received 20 million downloads by last October, but had almost another million (941,000) app downloads between December 21 – January 1. Possibly because so many viewers got a shiny new tablet for xmas. The new year brought another record, as New Years day saw the iPlayer’s receive more than 11 million TV and radio requests, up 35% from the same day in 2013.
Taylor continued, “With new gadgets being at the top of many Christmas wish lists, we see a lot of new devices accessing BBC iPlayer over the holiday period. 2013 truly proved to be the year of the tablet and after they were all unwrapped, Boxing Day saw tablet viewing overtake computer viewing for the first time in iPlayer history.”
He said that the Christmas period was an important time for catching up saying, “BBC iPlayer has an important role as a complementary platform for BBC broadcast programmes, especially on Boxing Day and New Year’s Day, when requests on iPlayer really start to peak and you have time to catch up on the must-watch Christmas programmes.”
Top shows requested included the Doctor Who special, the new Sherlock Holmes season, Mrs Brown’s Boys and Gangsta Granny. Taylor said, “We started the festive season with an early Christmas treat for viewers and fans in the lead-up to the much-anticipated third series of Sherlock. Many Happy Returns has since been viewed over 1.5 million times on BBC iPlayer and BBC Red Button with millions more watching on Youtube.”
Tablets are the perfect medium for watching streaming as they are light, portable and have long battery lives. They are preferable to smartphones thanks to the bigger screen size. Tablets overtook phones for iplayer requests last April.
Taylor gave his reasons for the tablet explosion saying, “I think we are seeing a growing range of more affordable tablets on the market, which is having an impact. Tablets are used by people who are on the move. We are finding more people are downloading programmes so they can watch on their commute or on holiday. People are also watching them in bed and we’ve heard about people building stands in their bathrooms for their tablets.”