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iPlayer enjoys record-breaking start to 2021

Keiran Southern, PA

BBC iPlayer enjoyed a record-breaking start to the year with more than 1.7 billion streams in the first three months of 2021, the broadcaster said.

The streaming service grew by 22% over the same period last year, the corporation said, thanks in part to new titles including The Serpent and Bloodland, as well as returning favourites such as Line Of Duty and RuPaul’s Drag Race UK.

The first three months of 2021 saw a number of records broken on iPlayer, the BBC said.

Line Of Duty
Line Of Duty contributed to a record-breaking start to 2021 (Liam McBurney/PA)

January was the platform’s most successful month since it launched in 2007, according to the broadcaster, with 652 million streams.

The first full week of that month, January 4-10, was iPlayer’s biggest week ever, with 163 million streams, the BBC said.

iPlayer enjoyed its best ever day on January 10. Programmes were streamed 26 million times, partly driven by four FA Cup matches including Marine v Tottenham Hotspur.

The most popular piece of content on iPlayer this year is the first episode of series one of crime thriller The Serpent, which was streamed more than 5.8 million times, the BBC said.

The Serpent
Tahar Rahim and Jenna Coleman starred in crime drama The Serpent (Roland Neveu/BBC/PA)

Second was the maiden episode of Line Of Duty’s sixth series, which was streamed more than 3.6 million times.

The first episode of series one of Bloodlands was third after it was also streamed more than 3.6 million times.

Also making the top 10 were Katie Price: Harvey And Me, the New Year’s Day episode of EastEnders and the series 10 premiere of Death In Paradise.

Dan McGolpin, director of BBC iPlayer and channels, said: “BBC iPlayer is getting more viewing than ever in 2021 thanks to new must-watch series like The Serpent and Bloodlands, returning big hitters like Line Of Duty and RuPaul’s Drag Race UK, plus a broad range of box sets now available including Pretty Little Liars, Spiral and Not Going Out.

“It’s not just the amount to choose from which is improving but the look and feel of iPlayer has also been changing with exciting innovations coming soon.”