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The BBC's iPlayer service has experienced its first ever fall in popularity. Since launching in 2007, it has grown to be one of the most popular catch-up services available. But in March this year, it had 7 per cent fewer streaming requests than during the same month in 2014.

Unique requests also dropped to 230 million, making for its slowest quarterly growth – just 2 per cent.

The BBC claimed that iPlayer "continues to perform strongly" and said the drop off was due to "variations of factors". The lack of new episodes of 'Top Gear' could be one of them – the show is one of the BBC's most popular products, and regularly scores in the top five most requested shows.

Last week, the BBC announced it would close its subscription-based Global iPlayer app. The app was never available in the UK, and allowed overseas viewers to watch – for a fee – the BBC's output.

The EU might change the laws governing such services, making iPlayer content available to be viewed all across Europe.

The fall in popularity is most probably just a blip. The Beeb will certainly hope so, seeing as it plans to close BBC Three and move it online as part of iPlayer. The new culture secretary, John Whittingdale, is also a fierce critic of the corporation. Could be a tough year for auntie...

Source: FT

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