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New Peter Kay comedy box-set a hit with iPlayer viewers

Wednesday, April 29th 2015 by Phil Wilkinson-Jones

Peter Kay’s new comedy has become the most successful series to premier as a box-set on BBC iPlayer.

Car Share was premiered in full on iPlayer from 24 to 28 April and had 2.8m requests. One episode had more than a million requests alone.

The BBC define requests as the number of successful attempts to stream or download a programme, where the content begins to play.

Viewers took the opportunity to enjoy the full series as all six episodes made it to BBC iPlayer’s ‘Most Popular’ section over the weekend.

Following its iPlayer premier, the first episode of Car Share will be shown on BBC One tonight at 9.30pm.

Peter Kay said: “I've been blown away by the response so far. How could I not be?

“Here's hoping the success continues and people enjoy the series Wednesday and Thursday on BBC One... at half nine."

Shane Allen, the BBC’s controller of comedy commissioning, said: “This is a phenomenal reaction which shows how excited audiences are to see Peter in his first scripted comedy for the BBC.

“We’re so proud of the show and it’s heartening that comedy does so well in the new on-demand world.

'Innovative approach'

“All credit to Peter for his innovative approach with this series launch which hopefully gives it a following wind for the primetime launch on BBC One tonight.”

Peter Kay’s Car Share is part of BBC iPlayer’s trial to premiere 40 hours of BBC content.

The broadcasting network first experimented with so-called 'binge-watching' in April 2014. The BBC made Australian comedy series Jonah from Tonga available in full on the iPlayer, 48 hours before the first episode aired on TV.

Streaming services like Netflix popularised the practice of making full seasons of a TV programme available at once, most recently releasing all 13 episodes of Marvel Comics adaptation Daredevil at the same time.

The success of Peter Kay’s Car Share follows on from a record-breaking year for BBC iPlayer, which saw 3.5bn TV and radio programme requests in 2014 alone.

Throughout March, there were a total of 255m requests to iPlayer – 57m requests a week on average – according to a monthly performance report.

The number of requests made via computers was 68m, the highest since March 2014.

90% of the requests to iPlayer in March were for on demand content. The percentage of on demand requests compared to live requests has remained steady for the past 12 months.

The last two episodes of Top Gear delivered more than 3.6m requests between them, with The Voice and Poldark also proving popular with viewers.

The BBC said some TV data was not captured in March and estimates that around 6m requests from TV platforms, such as Sky, Virgin Media, YouView and BT Vision, are missing from its figures.

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