BBC iPlayer stats revealed on service's second birthday

As the BBC's iPlayer service heads towards its second birthday on Christmas Day, the BBC has released new stats that reveal 2009 to be the most successful year to date, with Top Gear again bagging the top spot as the most watched programme of the year.

The BBC says the iPlayer, now available on 20 different devices, notches up an average of over 5 million unique users a week, and since its launch on Christmas Day in 2007, now sees more than 80 million requests per month for BBC TV and radio programmes.

The BBC has broken down viewing stats for the different platforms and states that Mac and PS3 users prefer comedy shows, while PC and Virgin Media users watch more drama, with EastEnders and Waking The Dead proving popular.

The figures also show that those who access the service via their mobile phones tend to do so post 9.00pm, and again on Saturday and Sunday morning, something the Beeb suggests shows "the nation is snuggling up with their favourite BBC programmes from the warmth and comfort of their own bed".

As far as the average user goes, the profile of the BBC iPlayer user is "evening out over time in terms of male/female ratio", says the BBC, but remains strongly under-55 in terms of age, which is younger than the typical TV viewer or radio listener's profile.

"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", says Eric Huggers, the director of future media and technology for the corporation.