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BBC iPlayer and BBC Sounds smash festive records

Viewers and listeners flocked to BBC iPlayer and BBC Sounds in record numbers over the festive period with millions also watching on BBC TV and listening on BBC Radio.

On BBC iPlayer, every day across the ‘festive fortnight’ – 20 December to 2 January – programmes were streamed more times on iPlayer this year than last year – with 23 December, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day showing the highest growth year on year (+25% or more).  The week of Boxing Day to New Year’s Day marked iPlayer’s best-ever ‘festive week’ with programmes streamed 165m times.

EastEnders, Call the Midwife, The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse, The Traitors and Sam Ryder Rocks New Year’s Eve topped the list of most watched programmes

On BBC Sounds, there were a record 57.7 million plays of all content between 20 December and 2 January, boosted by three new Miss Marple stories, new drama The Dark Is Rising and the hugely popular Christmas Sounds music offer.

Every day across the festive period, programmes were listened to more times on BBC Sounds this year than last year – with an overall increase of 9% compared with the same period in 2021. BBC Sounds also recorded its best festive day ever, with over 4.7 million plays on 20 December.

Charlotte Moore, BBC’s Chief Content Officer says: “Over the festive season, audiences chose the BBC in record breaking numbers on BBC iPlayer and Sounds for our world class content signalling a brilliant start to 2023 on the BBC.”

Additional data revealed by the BBC today shows:

On BBC iPlayer

  • The week of Boxing Day to New Year’s Day saw programmes streamed +17% more times than the same period last year
  • On New Year’s Day, programmes were streamed +30% more than last year – making it iPlayer’s third best day of all time, only behind two days during the FIFA World Cup 2022
  • EastEnders had a great festive season, with strong year-on-year growth. The Christmas Day hour-long episode was streamed 2.5m times, up +61% on last year’s Christmas Day episode
  • Other dramas including Call the Midwife, Death in Paradise, His Dark Materials, Strike and Happy Valley were also hugely popular
  • The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse was one of the Top 10 most-watched episodes over the ‘festive fortnight’ (1.8m streams) and Sam Ryder Rocks New Year’s Eve was close behind with 1.7m streams

On BBC Sounds:

  • Marple: Three New Stories was the most listened to title on BBC Sounds, and it made up seven of the top ten most popular episodes over the festive period
  • Desert Island Discs was the third most listened to programme, after The Archers, with Kirsty Young’s Christmas Day episode the seventh most popular overall this season
  • Newscast was the most listened to podcast on BBC Sounds, followed by You’re Dead To Me, Sliced Bread and Uncanny
  • Listeners turned to BBC Sounds to soundtrack their ‘festive fortnight’, with a total of 4.2 million plays for music mixes – up 10% from the same period in 2021
  • Christmas Sounds the most listened to music mix this season with Sounds Of The 90s: Festive Mixtape the most popular festive episode, followed by Sophie Ellis-Bextor’s Kitchen Disco: Ultimate Christmas Sleigh-list and Mindful Mix: A Winter Walk

Today’s news follows the announcement that across both broadcast and on-demand viewing, the BBC secured the top six most watched programmes, and seven out of the top ten programmes on Christmas Day – with the Strictly Come Dancing Christmas Special winning Christmas Day ratings in 2022. BCS Bureau

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