As always over the festive season there was a feast of TV
delights to keep us entertained when speaking to family members
grew tiresome. With so much choice over the Christmas period we at
Experian Hitwise were expecting Video
on Demand (VOD) to increase online as consumers caught up with
their favourite programmes.
At the beginning of December we predicted the UK would
12 million hours on BBC iPlayer with the top draws being
the Eastenders and Dr Who Christmas specials. In fact there were
13.8 million hours spent on iPlayer in December with over half a
million hours spent on Boxing Day alone - the day after the
Eastenders and Dr Who specials were first aired. However you can
see from the graph below that iPlayer received its biggest ever day
of Internet traffic on 2 January 2012.
New Year's Day saw the much anticipated return of Benedict
Cumberbatch reprising his role as Sherlock Holmes in the first
episode of the second season of Sherlock. Looking at the total
visits to iPlayer on 2 January there were 4.3 million visits from
UK Internet users, a new record for iPlayer.
Although the official BARB figures show that Downton Abbey was
most watched programmeon Christmas Day, online visits indicate
that it was much less popular online. The BARB figures take into
account viewings on the day as well as viewings from recordings and
on catch up services like ITV+1 - which show Downton with 11.6
million viewers and Eastenders with 11.3 million for Christmas Day.
However, in terms of online VOD watching, our data shows that ITV
Player received just 723 thousand visits on Boxing Day, compared to
iPlayer's 4.2 million - both of which were outstripped on 2
Of course, these figures include all visits for content watched
on the online channels, so it is not as simple as saying Sherlock
was more popular than Dr Who or indeed Downton Abbey online.
However, the BBC's online video content was certainly more watched
than ITV's and 2 January 2012 marks a new milestone for iPlayer
total visits which coincides with when people were able to watch
the new episode of Sherlock for the first time.
This article has been reproduced with the kind permission of
James Murray at Experian Hitwise.