The BBC has revealed that the iPlayer has enjoyed "significant growth" in the first 3 months since its Christmas Day marketing launch out of beta.

The total number of requests for downloads and streams of BBC programmes in March was 17.2 million, rising from 14 million in February, and 11.2 million in January.

This is a growth of 25% month-on-month, and adds up to 42 million programmes accessed on-demand since the Christmas marketing launch.

Average weekly users of BBC iPlayer reached 1.1 million in March, up from January's average of 750,000 users.

The first episode of the current series of The Apprentice is the most streamed BBC programme on BBC iPlayer in its first 3 months, while Louis Theroux: Behind Bars is the second most streamed.

Ashley Highfield, BBC director of future media and technology, comments: "BBC iPlayer continues to show significant growth and we are delighted that audiences are responding to it so positively".

"Its initial performance proves the case not only for BBC iPlayer, but for all video-on-demand services over the internet, and benefits both our audiences and the industry as a whole."

And, addressing the concerns of ISPs who are currently complaining about having to foot the bill for the UK's sudden interest in data heavy streaming and downloading:

"We continue to work closely with the internet service providers with a view to driving the next generation of broadband internet access."