Cable iPlayer earns 10.5m views

Virgin Media has recorded 10.5m views of BBC iPlayer programmes since June 1.

Usage figures released today also revealed In The Night Garden, aimed at children aged one to four, was one of the most viewed shows alongside primetime hits like Doctor Who.

Virgin and the BBC have been collaborating closely on the iPlayer, with the cableco keen to develop its video on demand offering and the BBC seeking to take the service to new platforms. The iPlayer was initially made available via the red button on BBC channels then integrated with the programme guide on May 29. Virgin has identified its official launch date as June 1.

A comparison of 10.5m views in about a month-and-a-half to the 21m all-platform total for the iPlayer in April suggests Virgin is making a sizeable contribution to overall use of the service.

Rahul Chakkara, the BBC's controller of TV platforms, said: "These early figures indicate a real appetite from viewers to access BBC iPlayer via their TVs and catch-up on their favourite programmes from the comfort of their living room. This initial success on Virgin Media underlines the multi-platform appeal of BBC iPlayer proposition."

Malcolm Wall, Virgin's chief executive of content, said: "Our customers are using BBC iPlayer on Virgin Media to watch the BBC programmes they want, when they want - from the most loved prime-time TV shows to children’s series like In the Night Garden."

The company said 48% of its 3.5m TV customers now "regularly" used video on demand, with the average views per customer reaching 24 per month. The company believes those using VOD are less likely to cancel their subscription.

The most-viewed iPlayer programmes during June were:

1. EastEnders
2. Doctor Who
3. Holby City
4. Casualty
5. Top Gear
6. Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps
7. The Apprentice
8. Friday Night with Jonathan Ross
9. In the Night Garden
10. The Apprentice: You're Fired