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Lockdown surge for iPlayer

by RXTV-newsdesk
Title card of a Perfect Planet, BBC NHU production

The BBC has reported another surge in viewers using the iPlayer, including a new record for the coveted under-35 age group.

As a third lockdown began in England, and restrictions were in place in the other UK nations, the period between 4th January and 10th January 2021 saw a record 4.1 million people aged under-35 signed into their BBC account to watch BBC iPlayer – with Pretty Little Liars, The FA Cup, A Teacher, The Serpent and David Attenborough’s A Perfect Planet proving popular.

2020 records

This follows a record-breaking 2020 on BBC iPlayer – which saw:

  • 5.8 billion programmes streamed from Jan-Dec – up 31% on 2019
  • Killing Eve, Normal People, Bing, The Nest and Gavin & Stacey top the most streamed episodes on iPlayer in 2020
  • Normal People, Killing Eve, MasterChef, Strictly Come Dancing and The Split top the list of series box sets in 2020

Normal People was the biggest box set of the year, with the romantic drama getting 63.7 million streams on iPlayer across 2020. Set in Ireland, the adaptation of Sally Rooney’s hugely popular novel followed Connell and Marianne’s story of young love, and led a number of strong performances for new dramas, including Sydney-based series The Secrets She Keeps, Mike Bartlett’s Life, which followed the lives of four families in Manchester, Michaela Coel’s extraordinary I May Destroy You and the spectacular Scottish-set thriller The Nest.

Dan McGolpin, controller of BBC iPlayer, says:

“More people than ever are using BBC iPlayer and they are using it more often, with a staggering 5.8 billion streams in 2020. They are finding more boxsets to choose from, a growing Ultra HD offer and a brand-new kids experience for our youngest viewers. The BBC iPlayer experience will keep getting better whatever your age and wherever you’re based, and we are already seeing 2021 breaking new records with viewers flocking to The Serpent, A Perfect Planet, the FA Cup and many more.”

The increased uptake of iPlayer by younger audiences will be welcomed by the BBC, who were challenged by Ofcom to increase engagement with under 35s. Ofcom previously reported that among 16-35 year olds, there had been a 22% drop in the time spent using the BBC since 2017. The BBC is part-way through a major publicity campaign across its outlets to promote the BBC iPlayer’s expanded programme library.

2020: Top 10 Box Sets on BBC iPlayer

Rank

Programme

Series

Streams

1

Normal People

 

63,715,000

2

Killing Eve

Series 3

39,655,000

3

MasterChef

Series 16

22,206,000

4

Strictly Come Dancing

Series 18

20,769,000

5

The Split

Series 2

19,058,000

6

Silent Witness

Series 23

17,252,000

7

The Secrets She Keeps

 

17,037,000

8

Life

 

16,131,000

9

I May Destroy You

 

16,127,000

10

This Country

Series 3

15,788,000

[BBC MC / Ofcom]

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