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Overnights Success?

Over the past 5 years since the return of Doctor Who,we’ve been living in a world where the “overnights” – the initial audience figures that give an indication of how successful a broadcast has been – have been absolutely vital.

However it turns out that they might not be that important after all. Following the massive use of delayed viewing systems over Christmas it seems that the overnights are no longer the barometer they were.

BBC Vision chief Jana Bennett points out in the Guardian this week that things have changed:

Just as Hollywood doesn’t judge a film purely on the first weekend’s takings, gone are the days when a programme lives and dies by its overnights.

A staggering 2.6 million people recorded Doctor Who on a PVR to watch at their convenience and 1.4 million watched it on the BBC iPlayer. New technologies lend programmes a Doctor Who-like regenerative quality, extending their life and value.

Doctor Who has been at the forefront of the BBC’s move to providing alternative viewing platforms over the past five years, and with news this week indicating that 1 in 8 iPlayer users view from their games console, it seems that the BBC is continuing to break new ground with its on demand platform, 3 years after its launch.


Christian Cawley


A long-term Doctor Who fan, Christian grew up watching the show and has early memories of the Graham Williams era. His favourite stories are Inferno, The Seeds of Doom and Human Nature (although The Empty Child, Blink and Utopia all come close). When he’s not bossing around the news team, Christian is a freelance writer specialising in mobile technology and domestic computing, and enjoys classic rock, cooking and spending time in the countryside with his wife and young children. You can find him on Twitter, Facebook and Google+.

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