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Last Updated: Thursday, 6 April 2006, 10:29 GMT 11:29 UK
EastEnders tops TV download trial
The total number of TV viewings during the trial was 70,000
EastEnders was the most popular show watched by people taking part in a BBC trial offering viewers the chance to catch up on TV and radio programmes.

The Integrated Media Player (iMP) gave 5,000 users the chance to download and watch BBC TV and radio on the internet.

Ashley Highfield, BBC director of new media, said he believed it could "revolutionise" broadcasting.

The trial underpins the BBC's plans for MyBBCPlayer, which would offer TV and radio streaming and a catch-up service.

Viewing behaviour

The service, which was trialled between November 2005 and February 2006, allowed users to download copies of selected shows within seven days of being broadcast.

Participants consistently watched an average of two programmes a week - equivalent to an hour's viewing.

EastEnders was joined in the TV top five by Little Britain, Two Pints Of Lager and a Packet of Crisps, Bleak House and Top Gear.

Mr Highfield said: "This research gives us the first glimpse into viewing behaviour in the on-demand future.

Ashley Highfield
Mr Highfield said the trial could indicate a change in TV viewing

"It provides the first significant clues as to how TV programmes over the internet could revolutionise broadcasting, and prompt a wider, cultural shift in television consumption.

"Niche programmes that would have struggled in a mainstream linear schedule performed consistently well throughout the period of the trial.

"While the top five programmes accounted for a quarter of all the viewing, some niche programming performed disproportionately well."

Research also showed that most viewing took place between 10pm and 11pm. The traditional peak time is between 7 and 10pm.

The most common reason for using the iMP was when a favourite programme had been missed.

The launch of the internet TV player MyBBCPlayer - which is pencilled in to launch at the end of the year - will be subject to the necessary public value test and approvals as outlined in the Government's White Paper on the BBC Charter.

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