The BBC iPlayer delivered 1.65 billion streams in the third quarter of 2022, up 7% on same period the previous year. The followed 1.6 billion streams in the second quarter and a record 1.83 billion streams in the first quarter. Once again it looks set to beat its own annual record but that needs to be seen in the perspective of total television viewing.

The most viewed event on the iPlayer was The State Funeral of HM Queen Elizabeth II, with 5.0 million streams. On the day of the funeral there were over 10 million streams of coverage. Interestingly, there were over 15 million streams of other programming on BBC iPlayer that day, which was a public holiday. 32.5 million people viewed coverage of the funeral on television, with a peak of 22.4 million watching across all BBC television output.

The next most viewed event on the BBC iPlayer was the final of the Women’s Euro 2022 football, with 4.0 million streams, with a total audience of 11.17 million, peaking at 17.4 million. The event provided a total of 15.7 million streams and reached an estimated 27.4 million people on television.

The Commonwealth Games generated 52.5 million streams, over six times more than the previous event in 2018, reaching a total television audience of 28.6 million people. The opening ceremony was watched by 4.62 million.

Wimbledon tennis coverage produced 28.2 million streams for the two-week championship, while the men’s final had an average television audience of 4.26 million.

The drama The Capture delivered 24.0 million streams over its six episodes, with the second series returning to BBC One. The first episode produced 3.2 million streams, with an audience of 4.17 million.

“The nation turns to the BBC for the big moments and for increasing numbers of people that means turning to BBC iPlayer,” said Dan McGolpin, the director of BBC iPlayer.

It should be noted that television audience figures as reported by BARB include viewing within seven days of broadcast through any means measured, including the BBC iPlayer.

It looks like the BBC will be able to claim another record year for iPlayer streams. In the first three quarters of 2022, the BBC iPlayer has delivered over 5 billion streams, compared to 6. 5 billion across 2021, which was up 12% on 2020, when there were national lockdowns during the coronavirus pandemic.

BBC iPlayer usage 2010-2021. Source: BBC

Usage of the BBC iPlayer has maintained momentum since then. However, the growth is hardly jolly hockysticks. Overall usage of the BBC iPlayer is about an hour a head a week, accounting for about 16% of all BBC television viewing.

Even with the inclusion of their online viewings, television audiences are often a shadow of their former selves. When they do wake up to watch big events, people invariably watch live on the largest screen available.