New Year’s Day was the best day ever for the iPlayer with 11 million TV and radio programme requests lodged on the BBC’s catch-up service as viewers caught up on the UK pubcaster’s line-up of festive programming.
That compares with 8.1 million requests on New Year’s Day 2013 and equates to a 35% year-on-year increase in programme requests.
iPlayer boss Dan Taylor revealed the stats in a blog post. He went on to note that Doctor Who was the single most requested programme with almost two million requests, ahead of soap opera Eastenders, the Mrs Brown’s Boys Christmas Special, Call the Midwife Christmas Special and kids and family drama Gangsta Granny.
The other notable trend in iPlayer usage over the Christmas and New Year period was the increase in viewing over connected tablet devices. Having proved a popular gift on Christmas Day, iPlayer viewing on tablets overtook that of computer viewing for the first time ever on December 26. Almost a million consumers downloaded the iPlayer tablet app over the holiday season.
There was also an uptick in iPlayer usage on connected TVs and mobile devices although these trailed tablets and computers.
Across 2013, Taylor said that there were 102 million requests for TV and radio programmes (80 million of the total were for TV).
UK satellite TV provider Sky is due to add 12 more channels to its Catch Up TV service before the end of the year and is expanding its collection of TV series Box Sets this autumn.
Sky said that it is adding Discovery, TLC, E!, Star, Watch, Gold, Dave, Alibi, Cartoon Network, Boomerang, Cartoonito and Sky News to its free Catch Up TV service.
Entertainment Extra+ customers will also see almost a hundred series of TV Box Sets join the Sky service this autumn, which will be available via Sky+HD boxes with selected shows also due to be available on mobile devices with Sky Go.
Box Set series due to be added include five series of HBO drama The Wire, six seasons of The Sopranos, seasons one and two of Game of Thrones and the first three seasons of Mad Men.
British series like I’m Alan Partridge, An Idiot Abroad, Extras and The Inbetweeners will also be included as part of the expanded offering.
“We know how important it is for our customers to have the flexibility to watch the shows everyone is talking about when it suits them. That’s why this autumn we are introducing more TV series to our TV Box Set service, to ensure we have Box Sets of the latest and greatest shows ready for customers to catch up on whenever they want,” said Luke Bradley-Jones, Sky’s brand director of TV products.