BBC iPlayer celebrates second anniversary

Pubcaster anticipates 82 million downloads in December

LONDON -- Celebrating its two-year anniversary with an anticipated 82 million downloads in December, the BBC iPlayer is extending the flexibility of how U.K. viewers view BBC fare, the pubcaster's director of future media and technology Eric Huggers said Wednesday.

Speaking as the pubcaster published new data on iPlayer usage patterns, Huggers revealed that the platform averages over five million unique users a week and experiences viewing surges on Saturday and Sunday mornings as viewers catch-up on TV from the comfort of their own bed.

The iPlayer is now available on more than 20 different devices, including PCs, Macs, mobile phones, PS3 and other gaming platforms, with Mac and PS3 users preferring comedy shows such as alternative comedy panel show "Mock The Week," while PC and Virgin Media users appear to prefer drama, with long-running BBC soap "EastEnders" and crime thriller "Waking The Dead" proving to be more popular.

Overall, the year's most popular downloaded show proved to be motoring show "Top Gear."

"These figures show people are making the most of the choice they now have -- whether it's watching 'EastEnders' on your PC during your lunch break, listening to [Radio 4 show] 'Desert Island Discs' on the bus or watching 'Mock The Week' in bed, viewing patterns change depending on the time and location of the audience," said Huggers.

Over Christmas, iPlayer hightlights will include "The Incredibles," "Pirates Of The Caribbean: At World's End" and the Oscar-winning "La Vie En Rose," as well as David Tennant's final outing in "Doctor Who," and the "Strictly Come Dancing Christmas special."

"We'll be looking to increase the availability of the BBC iPlayer on new platforms and devices in coming months and are looking towards more success in 2010," Huggers added.