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Smartphones, iPad hikes BBC viewing

VOD usage rockets 1,000% in December

LONDON — The BBC’s online domestic catch-up service, the iPlayer, is increasingly being used by Brits who own smart TVs, smartphones and tablets.

In December this kind of iPlayer usage spiked 1,000% to seven million program requests on connected TV sets compared to the previous year, per the BBC. Mobile phones and tablets recorded 13 million and 10 million requests respectively, year-on-year increases of 163% and 596%.

Nevertheless, two-thirds of requests for iPlayer-delivered shows were made on computers during 2011.

Daniel Danker, BBC Future Media’s general manager, programs and on demand, said: “While 2011 was a remarkable year for BBC iPlayer across the board, the real story was growth of iPlayer on TVs, mobile phones and tablets, outpacing PC growth many times over.

“Having established itself as a must-have app for smartphone users and the gold-standard for TV on the go, we see huge potential for BBC iPlayer on the living room set in 2012…as audiences switch on to the benefits of connected TV.”

Overall, the BBC said that the catch-up service hit record-breaking numbers last year, with 1.94 billion TV and radio program requests across all platforms.

Boosted apparently by Brits giving smart-phones and tablets as Christmas gifts, the iPlayer registered its best-ever week in the post-festive period.

From Dec. 26 to Jan. 2, 29.7 million requests for TV shows were made. Usage peaked Jan. 2 with a record 5.4 million requests.

“Sherlock,” starring Benedict Cumberbatch, was the most-watched show, with 623,000 viewers — the highest number of requests for any one program in a single day since the service bowed on Christmas Day 2007.