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BBC iPlayer has record year, iPad viewing up 600 per cent

BBC iPlayer had a record year in 2011, with shows such as Top Gear and Sherlock watched on our phones, smart TVs and games consoles.

BBC iPlayer had a record year in 2011, with shows such as Top Gear and Sherlock fuelling demand. Auntie Beeb's regular BBC iStats reveal we watch and listen to more and more TV and radio on our phones, smart TVs and games consoles -- and iPad iPlaying has skyrocketed by 600 per cent.

We watched and listened to 1.94bn programmes in 2011, including 187m in December. The Top Gear India Special, David Attenbrough's Frozen Planet and cockerney misery-porn EastEnders were the most watched shows over Christmas. A record 145m TV and radio shows were streamed to the viewing and listening public.

Radio listeners clicked on roughly four programmes per week on average, and listened for around 3 hours. TV viewers requested about three programmes but watched for an hour, suggesting that online viewers are still inclined to channel-hop by watching something else.

Most iPlayer programming is viewed on a computer, but the number of people watching on cable TV, phones, tablets, games consoles and other devices increased by 10 per cent over the course of the year.

Virgin Media viewers watching iPlayer through their tellies made up just over a tenth of viewing. The various iPlayer apps come next: 7 per cent of viewing takes place on phones, and 5 per cent each on tablets and games consoles. Tablet viewing -- which basically means the iPad, as the dominant force in the tablet market -- was up a whopping 596 per cent.

With the current series of Sherlock breaking records for online TV viewing in a single day, it seems that watching our stories on our computers, phones and tablets is here to stay. Apps are fuelling this growth, whether it's on phones and tablets or games consoles and web-connected TVs. In December, 7 million programmes were watched on smart TVs, an increase of over 1,000 per cent from the previous year.

The peak time for iPlayer is when we retire to bed, with people watching on their phone, tablet or laptop as they snuggle in between the sheets. We should point out that it's not good for your sleep patterns to stare at a backlit screen in the hour or so before bed, but if you absolutely have to see Jeremy Clarkson as the last thing before you drop off...

How and when do you catch up with iPlayer and other on-demand services? Do you take QI into the kitchen, Hustle in the hallway, or Sherlock in the shower? Tell us in the comments or on our Facebook wall.