BBC iPlayer summer stats released

Recent viewing figures published by the BBC for their iPlayer service prove that the way we are viewing our favourite TV programmes is changing faster than we perhaps realised.

In 1977 the Morecambe and Wise Christmas special was watched by 28m people; over half the population of the country at the time. In today’s world of multi-channel viewing TV executives can only dream of these kind of figures. To put this into perspective, William and Kate’s wedding in April 2011 was only watched by 24m people on the BBC and ITV combined.

Of course our viewing habits have changed drastically since the ’70s now that we can record shows to watch later and Doctor Who, which regularly adds almost 2m viewers each week on timeshift, is an example of how important these consolidated figures are. Doctor Who is also regularly the most requested show on BBC iPlayer, figures that are not included in the consolidated ratings.

The BBC reports this month that between June and August 2012 iPlayer has been more popular than ever before. In August alone there were 196m requests for both TV and radio programmes which was mostly, but not completely, driven by the popularity of the London 2012 Olympics.

That said, in amongst the sport are some interesting inclusions. The third most requested episode of any show in August was Episode 2 of Jack Whitehall’s Bad Education with 884k viewers. This episode attracted 988k viewers when transmitted and it is certainly obvious from these figures alone how important the iPlayer has become, particularly with BBC Three’s target audience.

Other popular shows in August included Accused and Parade’s End, shows that noticeably shed viewers over the course of their runs when transmitted. And yet, the first episode of Parade’s End was watched by a further 527k on the iPlayer.

When the BBC’s next quarterly iPlayer report is published it’s probably safe to say that figures will drop slightly for the month of September sans the Olympic games, but the importance of the service cannot be denied. Who knows how many people will be watching shows on the iPlayer by the time Rio 2016 comes around.

How often do you watch TV on iPlayer? Let us know below…

> Read more from Chris in his blog, Boyle’s Law.