We’ve all had our own little panic attacks over the last few years when it comes to Doctor Who and viewing figures. The pattern seems to go that if you see a low figure, let’s say below five million for an episode of Doctor Who, your heart sinks and you start to hear Michael Grade discussing his plans to rest Doctor Who for twenty years even though he now works for The Other Channel.
But, joy of joys, when the final viewing figures for a Doctor Who episode are released, the millions of viewers that have tuned in automatically goes up, because we sometimes forget that Doctor Who is watched by almost as many people on its day of transmission as it is by those who watch it later via BBC iPlayer. In the digital age, Doctor Who’s overnight viewing figures now normally represent half of what will eventually be the total amount. We’re not slaves to transmission anymore but free to enjoy a new episode of Doctor Who on the train ride to work or whilst sipping on a coffee in Starbucks.
The BBC are no fools and like to move with the times, they’ve noticed that the trend for their audiences is to now access their shows through iPlayer, so they’ve decided to start premiering some of their serials online first rather than on their actual channels. A BBC spokesperson confirmed:
During 2012, the BBC brought selected online-only programmes to audiences…these included BBC Three comedy pilots, a Doctor Who web series called Pond Life, and curated archive programmes for BBC Four. We will build on this in 2013, and make more programming exclusively available to our audiences via BBC iPlayer.”
Whilst this won’t mean that serials such as Doctor Who, EastEnders or Top Gear will be shown on iPlayer first it does mean that the online download trend is being embraced by the BBC which can only be a good thing. Perhaps material would cost less to make or would come from a different budget which could mean extra Doctor Who material in the future, maybe even a return of Doctor Who Confidential in a smaller online capacity!
Let’s watch this space in 2013.
(Via Radio Times.)