BBC iPlayer proves a success with more than 42m programmes accessed

LONDON - The BBC has reported significant growth for its iPlayer service in the first three months since its launch, with more than 42m programmes accessed.

The total number of requests for downloads and streams of BBC programmes in March was 17.2m, rising from 14m in February and 11.2m in January.

This represents a growth of 25% month on month and contributes to the total of over 42m programmes accessed on demand since the Christmas marketing launch.

Among the most successful programmes on the iPlayer were 'The Apprentice', 'Gavin and Stacey', time-travel drama 'Ashes to Ashes', 'EastEnders' and 'Torchwood'.

The figures are not such good news for internet service providers who claim that the BBC is putting unfair pressure on their systems.

They want the corporation to share the cost of upgrading the network, which is estimated at £831m, to cope with the increased workload, but the BBC claims that it is being unfairly singled out.

Ashley Highfield, BBC director of Future Media and Technology, said: "Its initial performance proves the case not only for the BBC iPlayer, but for all video-on-demand services over the internet, and benefits both our audiences and the industry as a whole.

"We continue to work closely with the internet service providers with a view to driving the next generation of broadband internet access."

The iPlayer is also being tested for launch on the Nintendo Wii games console and the BBC expects to release more test versions later in the year.

The iPlayer will be accessible via the internet channel on the Wii console and a message will be sent to Wii owners to alert them to the service.

Erik Huggers, BBC's group controller, said: "The BBC's catch-up TV service can now be accessed on an increasing number of different platforms -- from the web and portable devices to gaming consoles."


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