The BBC iPlayer received 70% more requests during lockdown in May 2020, compared to the same month the previous year. There were 570 million requests for programmes on the BBC iPlayer in May, up from 564 million in April, which was the previous highest month on record.
Dan McGolpin, the controller of BBC iPlayer, said: “BBC iPlayer continues to rise higher with yet another record-breaking month in May — 72% more programme requests than a year ago, it’s been the only place to binge on the wonderful new hit series Normal People and the place to see returning favourite Killing Eve first. Before the lockdown period began and all the way through it, iPlayer has been providing a unique mix of entertaining, informative and educational television whenever and wherever people want it.”
The most requested programme in May was an episode from the third series of the drama Killing Eve, with 4.00 million requests. Together with another episode of Killing Eve, the drama Normal People accounted for the remainder of the top 10. The first episode received 3.57 million requests, falling to 3.36 million for the second and down to 3.09 million for the third.
The three series of Killing Eve generated 163 million requests, an average of over 6.75 million requests an episode.
Normal People has so far received 54 million requests across the series on BBC iPlayer. The drama was released under the BBC Three brand with all 12 episodes released simultaneously, and subsequently shown as a weekly series on BBC One. It has been released on Hulu in the United States and on Stan in Australia.
Live coverage of the announcement by the prime minister on 25 May received 1.89 million requests, making it the third most requested programme on the BBC iPlayer that month. The BBC news special that day had an audience of just over 5 million.
In the first quarter of 2020, the BBC iPlayer received 1.4 billion requests, or an average of over 460 million requests a month, which was up by a third on the same period the previous year.
Over the course of 2019, there were over 4.4 billion requests, or an average of over 366 million requests a month.
The use of the BBC iPlayer has clearly increased during coronavirus restrictions. That may lead to increased adoption and usage, as it approaches fifteen years since it first began as a pilot in October 2005.