Glastonbury 2013: BBC Plugs Digital Success

The public broadcaster, which upped its levels of festival coverage across various platforms, posts a corresponding uptick in viewership and usage.
The Rolling Stones' performance at the 2013 Glastonbury festival

LONDON – You have to be in it to win it.

And so the BBC's decision to up the ante for this year's Glastonbury music festival with its "most comprehensive digital coverage ever" paid off.

The public broadcaster said a record 1.5 million unique browsers – up 98 percent from 2011's festival coverage -- accessed the BBC’s digital Glastonbury coverage, which this year saw legendary rockers The Rolling Stones take to the event's main stage Saturday evening.

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According to BBC data, some 700,000 requests were made for the band's performance at the iconic music festival across the public broadcaster's live and catch-up radio and TV services.

And the figures also showed 6.2 million viewers hit the BBC's digital TV red-button services, up a whopping 77 percent compared to the last Glastonbury festival in 2011.

"Record-breaking numbers of people tuned in to what has been our most comprehensive digital Glastonbury offering to date," BBC controller of popular music Bob Shennan said. "This year, we gave our audience the opportunity to watch what they wanted, when they wanted and how they wanted. And they did."

The BBC offered live streams from the festival's six key music stages, more than 120 live performances and more than 250 hours of live coverage across multiple screens.

It was also the first truly mobile Glastonbury, with 42 percent of total traffic across the weekend from cellphones and tablets.

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The Rolling Stones’ performance was the most requested Glastonbury program on Saturday, and the most for any show that weekend.

The Arctic Monkeys were second with 379,681 requests on Friday, followed by Mumford & Sons with 163,650 requests on Sunday.

Viewing on YouTube also proved popular, with 1 million views of all Glastonbury content via the BBC YouTube channel.

Live online webcasts received around 1.5 million requests, the BBC noted.

This year’s festival also brought international audiences to the heart of the action, broadcasting, for the first time, a bespoke six-hour Glastonbury spectacular over BBC Worldwide’s global channels to music fans across territories including South Africa, Singapore and Colombia.

The broadcast was carried by BBC Entertainment in the Nordics, Poland and South Africa, BBC HD in Poland and Turkey, and UKTV in Australia and New Zealand.

It was simulcast on BBC HD in Latin America and BBC Knowledge in Asia as well as BBC Entertainment in both those markets.