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BBC iPlayer bags 203 million program requests in 'best-ever' Christmas fortnight

The British Broadcasting Corp.'s iPlayer streaming service generated 203 million requests to stream or download programs during its "best-ever" Christmas fortnight in 2019.

The figure, which includes data from Dec. 20, 2019, to Jan. 2, 2020, represents an increase of more than a third from the same period in 2018.

The total does not include some unavailable data from Sky Ltd., to be added later. The Comcast Corp.-owned pay-TV operator recently added the iPlayer app to its Sky Q service, as part of a content and technology tie-up with the U.K. public broadcaster.

Over the fortnight, iPlayer registered the most number of program requests on Jan. 1 at 17.9 million, also up by over a third from year-ago figures.

In addition, 10.7 million BBC account holders signed in during the Christmas week to watch shows on iPlayer, with 3.6 million of them under 35 years old.

The Christmas special of comedy series "Gavin & Stacey" was the top episode during the period with about 4.6 million requests. The Dec. 25 episode of long-running soap opera "EastEnders" came in second with about 2.2 million requests, followed by the Christmas episode of drama series "Call the Midwife" with about 1.8 million requests. Nine episodes of "EastEnders" made it to the 20 most requested episodes.

"EastEnders" was also the top title on iPlayer within the holiday fortnight with about 15.6 million program requests, followed by "Gavin & Stacey" with about 11.4 million requests and preschool animated series "Hey Duggee" with about 6.2 million requests.