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BBC iPlayer usage drops for third straight month

Luke Johnson


BBC iPlayer

The BBC has defending its on-demand streaming service, after BBC iPlayer usage fell for the third consecutive month.

The catch-up service recorded 271 million TV and radio programming requests during April.

Despite easily outstripping rival services such as ITV Player and All 4, the Beeb’s impressive iPlayer figures were down on the 278 million content requests placing during Mach and the 299 million requests in February.

The much loved service has been on a steady slide since breaking records over the holiday period, racking up a staggering 343 million content requests in December alone.

Looking to stem concern in the service’s decreasing figures in a time of increased competition from the likes of Sky Go, Netflix and Amazon Prime Instant Video, Dan Taylor-Watt, the BBC’s iPlayer chief, has suggested the slump is nothing more than a seasonal cycle.

"BBC iPlayer usage changes significantly depending on the season with higher volumes of requests in the autumn and winter months, and lower volumes in the spring and summer," he said.

"Also, as the majority of iPlayer consumption is still catch-up TV, there is a strong link between what's broadcast on 'telly' and programmes requested on iPlayer."

Taylor-Watt also highlighted how, despite recent monthly decreases, BBC iPlayer continues to see general growth, having risen from less than 1 billion annual requests in 2009 to more than 2.5 billion in the year ending March 31.

"Even though the iPlayer continues to grow it won't be at such a rapid pace," he stated. "The market has also changed significantly since iPlayer launched, with a host of new video-on-demand services now available in the UK.

"What is remarkable is how the iPlayer has not just maintained but continued to grow its usage with the increasing number of video-on-demand services."

Related: Weekend Streaming: What to watch

Peter Kay’s Car Share was the most viewed show on iPlayer in April with the debut episode recording an impressive 1.5 million requests.

The show’s first series saw some 3.5 million requests in total and was closely followed by Poldark and Eastenders.


May 31, 2015, 3:39 pm

I don't know about iPlayer for TV, but for "listen again" on radio they are busy making a mess out of what used to work just fine.

All the podcast listings are moving over to a new "responsive" web format, which means that on a mobile phone (even a large screen like the Note) you get zero details of the programme, beyond a cursory headline. Previously there was about a paragraph overview, enough to inform a decision what to listen to.

True to the "responsive" dogma, there is no option to request a desktop version with more details. Just "My First Reader" sized text and links, designed for a 3.5" screen nobody has anymore.

Not only that, but now the link is only for a download - no streaming option.

Before, it all worked so well! The listing was fulsome, and on the Galaxy Note at least, when you clicked the link you got a choice (in Android) to stream or download. Perfect

Mark Burpham

May 31, 2015, 4:39 pm

There's no consistancy some things are available for years, some for a matter of days. I missed the first and third episodes of 1864 but when I tried to watch them they weren't available any more. So I've not even started to watch the rest of it.


June 1, 2015, 7:04 am

how much of that drop is clarkson et-al? lol.

Alex Mason

June 1, 2015, 8:20 am

Its because there is rarely anything on there worth watching. The BBC science output has been a bit duff for a long time, with a lot of dumbed down stuff and other shows riddled with climate change hysteria. But as of now, those pages are full of repeats and the same nature programs over and over again. They don't have much of the F1, they don't have TG any longer and the rest of their stuff like comedy and talk shows are also getting a bit stale. They couldn't even be arsed to produce one of their newest talk shows, Clair Baldings Sports Talk or whatever, they simply bought it off BT and re-issued it. Then theres the "Me too, me too!" The Voice which is garbage pandering to the viewing figures.

Besides, I can't even remember the last time I turned on my TV to watch BBC content, nevermind go looking for it on the internet. They have nothing that piques my interest, even HIGNFY and Charlie Brooker are getting into the broken record state. I guess its now becoming the same for a lot of others and the license fee is looking ever more tenuous for them.


June 1, 2015, 10:55 am

I think that's down to personal taste though isn't it?

Poldark, Banished, 1864 and "Jonathan Strange & Mr Lovell" are great pieces of TV if you like that sort if thing. The Beeb has had some great stuff on VE day over the past few weeks as well, so it's not just drama etc. The Chelsea Flower Show was great as well (so my parents tell me).


June 1, 2015, 10:56 am

Yes that was a bugger - I thought all their content was available for 30 days now.


June 1, 2015, 6:55 pm

toboev is correct, the repeat radio option has been butchered on the altar of "Improvement".
They emailed me months ago in response to a complaint that I made, that the option was not yet ready for Android, FFS!

Some productions, like the films they broadcast have royalties and copyright issues and won't ever be offered on iplayer btw.


June 4, 2015, 2:47 pm

Just being able to watch a program for 7 or 30 days is just plain stupid!
Whereas on the All4 Player I have discovered a lot of older programs because they are on the player for much much longer

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