New figures released by the BBC today reveal that in March this year, tablet use of its iPlayer on-demand catch-up service was higher than mobile use for the first time ever.

The number of requests for iPlayer streams on tablets exceeded those on mobile devices by 200,000, with TV viewing being the main driver of this switch. The figure indicates that viewers prefer the tablet form factor for TV viewing, with accelerating sales of the devices leading to increased streaming media consumption. Whether viewers are switching to tablets from traditional broadcast TV or from mobile or desktop PC iPlayer consumption is unclear, however.

Mobile and tablet devices accounted for 30% of iPlayer requests in March, representing 81 million requests. The total for the month was 272 million, equalling the record-breaking figures that the BBC reported in January.

The BBC popularized online catch-up viewing in the UK with the iPlayer, and it’s a model that has been replicated by all its major rivals. The corporation reported a record-breaking year in 2012, with a total of 2.32bn program requests and mobile usage up by 177%.

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