BBC VOD Service Extending Viewing Window for TV Shows to 30 Days


Year-to-date, the most-requested show on iPlayer is 'EastEnders,' with 'Sherlock' leading the ranking of individual episodes

The BBC is extending its catch-up viewing window for TV content on its BBC iPlayer digital VOD service from seven days to 30 as of Monday.

The change, for which the U.K. public broadcaster recently received approval from its governing body, kicks in early in the fall TV season, which includes such popular shows as gangster drama Peaky Blinders and drama The Fall.

"BBC iPlayer pioneered online viewing," said BBC director general Tony Hall. "It is recognized as not just the first, but the best service of its type in the world. It offers amazing value. But we want to go further. That’s why we began reinventing iPlayer earlier this year with a brand new redesign and features."

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He added: "Extending the catch-up window to 30 days now makes the best value on-demand service even better. We have a fantastic autumn schedule and the public will now have more opportunities to watch the shows they love.”

The BBC iPlayer launched in 2007 with its seven-day catch-up window and has since grown usage to more than 7 million TV and radio program requests a day.

Said Ralph Rivera, director of future media at the BBC: "Whether it’s on the bus on their mobile – or on their tablet in bed at night, I’m really pleased that we’re able to give our audiences longer to watch and listen than ever before.”

iPlayer recorded a record 3 billion requests for TV and radio programs last year.‎ For Jan.-Aug. 2014, the most-requested show on iPlayer is soap opera EastEnders with a total of more than 140.7 million requests, followed by Top Gear with 20.5 million and BBC News with nearly 19.9 million.

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Hit show Sherlock, starring Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock Holmes and Martin Freeman as Doctor Watson, helped the BBC iPlayer service hit a then-record number of program requests in January, with the show itself generating over 3.6 million requests year-to-date. ‎That made it the most-requested episode of any show year-to-date on iPlayer.

Here is a look at the top 10 program episodes requested January to August, according to the BBC:
‎Program ‎Episode Requests
1 Sherlock Season 3 Episode 1 - The Empty Hearse 3,643,900
2 Top Gear Season 21 Episode 1 3,535,600
3 Top Gear Season 21 Burma Special - Part 1 3,340,700
4 Top Gear Season 21 Episode 3 3,191,000
5 Murdered by My Boyfriend June 23 3,021,300
6 Sherlock Season 3 Episode 2 - The Sign of Three 3,017,600
7 Sherlock Season 3 Episode 3 - His Last Vow 2,916,900
8 Top Gear Season 21 Episode 2 2,906,900
9 Outnumbered Season 5 Episode 1 2,857,500
10‎ Top Gear Season 21 Burma Special - Part 2 2,797,500

Twitter: @georgszalai