The BBC iPlayer delivered 7 billion streams in 2022, up 9% on the previous year. There were 2 billion streams in the last quarter of 2022, including the football World Cup, which had 92 million streams over the course of the tournament coverage. That still pales in comparison to the most popular programme title.

“2022 saw huge growth for BBC iPlayer. 7 billion streams is double where we were a few years ago,” said Dan McGolphin, the director of BBC iPlayer.

BBC iPlayer usage 2010-2021. Source: BBC

There were 3.6 billion requests on the BBC iPlayer in 2018. The rise in usage in recent years reflects the role of the online video platform changed from being positioned as a catch-up service to a destination, boosted by relentless on-air promotion.

BBC iPlayer montage

There were 2 billion streams delivered in the last three months of 2022, with 700 million in December.

The World Cup coverage was streamed 92 million times over the tournament. The Commonwealth Games delivered 53 million streams, and tennis from Wimbledon provided 43 million.

The continuing drama EastEnders was streamed 366 million times over the year, an average of just over a million streams a day, which is remarkable as average viewing figures for the serial continue to sink.

The most popular drama series was Doctor Who, with 56 million streams, followed by the period drama Peaky Blinders at 55 million, with the most popular episode reaching 6.9 million.

Top 10 programmes on BBC iPlayer 2022
Programme Requests
1 FIFA World Cup 2022 92,267,000
2 Doctor Who 56,100,000
3 Peaky Blinders 55,609,000
4 Commonwealth Games 52,781,000
5 Waterloo Road (2006-16) 46,380,000
6 Death in Paradise 46,091,000
7 Strictly Come Dancing 44,909,000
8 Silent Witness 44,665,000
9 Wimbledon 42,678,000
10 Match of the Day 40,451,000
Source: BBC. Excluding continuing series like EastEnders, news and children’s programmes.

The BBC does not break out figures for news or children’s programming. However, the animated pre-school series Hey Duggee was the third most popular programme on iPlayer over Christmas. Bluey and Bing were also ranked fifth and seventh respectively.

Top 10 episodes per series on BBC iPlayer 2022
Programme Requests
1 Peaky Blinders Ep 1 6,925,000
2 The Tourist Ep 1 6,428,000
3 The Responder Ep 1 6,164,000
4 FIFA World Cup 2022 England v Iran 5,592,000
5 SAS Rogue Heroes Ep 1 5,526,000
6 The State Funeral of HM Queen Elizabeth II 5,043,000
7 Inside Man Ep 1 5,028,000
8 The Apprentice Ep 1 4,889,000
9 Sherwood Ep 1 4,855,000
10 This is Going to Hurt Ep 1 4,753,000
Source: BBC.

It is notable that in each case the first episode of a series had the highest viewing, which typically drops off during a series.

The most watched match from the World Cup on the iPlayer was the first England game, which took place on a Monday afternoon.

The funeral of the Queen was watched by an estimated peak audience of around 28 million people in the United Kingdom, making it one of the largest ever television events in the country.