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BBC iPlayer in 'hugely popular at Xmas' shock

Corporation lauds record 145m catch-up views, listens

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Brits sure love the BBC's iPlayer, which clocked in a record 145m programme requests in December 2010, the Corporation chirped today.

That total is up 27 per cent on December 2009's total, but only just under three per cent on November 2010's total of 141m requests.

A sign that iPlayer's rapid rise has levelled off? Possibly, but it's worth noting that over the holiday period folk are far more likely to sit down and view programmes live than they are when they're at work and down the pub afterwards.

Maybe the numbers would be higher if the BBC's governing body, the BBC Trust, would let the Corporation release iOS and Android clients - or at least stop it preventing third-parties from doing so...

Interestingly, requests TV programmes hit just 89.7m, showing that almost 40 per cent of requests - 83.1m - were for radio shows. The internet is perfect for radio, which is far less bandwidth-sensitive than the telly stuff.

Perhaps this figure shows it's time to put DAB out to pasture and encourage folk to upgrade to net-connected 'tuners' instead.

The most requested shows: the two Top Gear specials, some episodes of The Apprentice and the Doctor Who Christmas special. Chuck in the fact that the Royal Variety Performance 2010 and rather a lot of EastEnders pack out the top 20 requested shows, and it's clear iPlayer is winning the hearts and eyes of the person on the Clapham Omnibus, not just those of a more intellectual bent catching up on BBC Four shows.

The BBC said Virgin Media viewers asked for 23.9m programmes to be played back. PlayStation 3 owners made a further 7m requests. ®

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