iPlayer Increasingly Used In Bed As Top Gear Dominates

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelance and long standing contributor to TechWeek Europe

Top Gear is one of the most watched programs on the iPlayer, and according to the BBC, people are increasingly taking their laptops to bed to watch it

The strain on our national broadband infrastructure looks set to increase after the BBC shared some of the statistics for iPlayer, which will be two years old this Christmas day.

According to the BBC, the iPlayer gets an average of over 5 million unique users a week, and since its launch on Christmas Day in 2007, now sees more than 80 million requests per month for BBC TV and radio programmes.

And it seems that the motoring programme, Top Gear, was the most watched programme of the year, with one episode alone pulling in an audience of 1.7 million. Other popular programmes included Michael McIntyre’s Comedy Roadshow, Gavin And Stacey, Doctor Who, and Life.

Another interesting insight is that throughout the year, the broadcaster found users who accessed the service through a Mac or a PS3 were more likely to catch-up on comedy programmes. Meanwhile, those watching on a PC or through the Virgin Media platform were more interesting in viewing dramas.

And it seems that viewers are taking TV to bed and watching iPlayer on a laptop or mobile phone after the BBC found big peaks in traffic post 9.00pm, as well as on Saturday and Sunday morning, “suggesting that the nation is snuggling up with their favourite BBC programmes from the warmth and comfort of their own bed.”

“These figures show people are making the most of the choice they now have – whether it’s watching EastEnders on your PC during your lunch break, listening to Desert Island Discs on the bus or watching Mock The Week in bed, viewing patterns change depending on the time and location of the audience,” said Erik Huggers, Director of Future Media and Technology.

“We’ll be looking to increase the availability of the BBC iPlayer on new platforms and devices in coming months and are looking towards more success in 2010,” he added.

The BBC also said that approximately 20,000 users are watching the on demand service on their mobile phones.

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Earlier this week broadbandchoices.co.uk warned that users are risking a penalty for excessive downloading because they are now watching so much online TV. Meanwhile the BBC has also just been given the go ahead to participate in Project Canvas, a video-on-demand service in conjunction with five other broadcasters.