BBC iPlayer tablet use overtakes PC viewing for first time

BBC iPlayer

The BBC has hailed Christmas 2013 as the "year of the tablet", as the number of people accessing its iPlayer catch-up service on tablets overtook PCs for the first time.

The broadcaster made the admission in a blog post, authored by BBC iPlayer head Dan Taylor, charting the most-watched TV shows accessed through the service over Christmas.

"With new gadgets being at the top of many Christmas wish lists, we see a lot of new devices accessing BBC iPlayer over the holiday period," wrote Taylor.

"2013 truly proved to be the year of the tablet and after they were all unwrapped, Boxing Day saw tablet viewing overtake computer viewing for the first time in iPlayer history."

Taylor also revealed that nearly a million (941,000) people downloaded its iPlayer mobile and tablet apps over the festive period, with New Year's Day proving to be the busiest in the service's history.

On that day alone, nearly 11 million requests for BBC TV and radio programmes were made, up from 8.1 million on New Year's Day in 2013.

"Christmas Day TV is all about families gathering around the biggest screen of the house and most viewing on the day is via broadcast TV," Taylor explained.

"BBC iPlayer has an important role as a complementary platform for BBC broadcast programmes, especially on Boxing Day and New Year's Day, when requests on iPlayer really start to peak."

These figures could increase further, as the post explains that Sky and Virgin Media are yet to disclose how many of their customers accessed iPlayer via its TV services during the Christmas period.

Between 21 December and 1 January, iPlayer handled a total of 80 million requests for TV shows and 22 million for radio, with the Christmas Day episode of Doctor Who proving most popular.

Caroline Donnelly is the news and analysis editor of IT Pro and its sister site Cloud Pro, and covers general news, as well as the storage, security, public sector, cloud and Microsoft beats. Caroline has been a member of the IT Pro/Cloud Pro team since March 2012, and has previously worked as a reporter at several B2B publications, including UK channel magazine CRN, and as features writer for local weekly newspaper, The Slough and Windsor Observer. She studied Medical Biochemistry at the University of Leicester and completed a Postgraduate Diploma in Magazine Journalism at PMA Training in 2006.