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The BBC has defended its iPlayer service after figures dropped for the third month in a row.

The catch-up service received 271 million requests for TV and radio programmes in April, which is down from 278 million in March. February saw 299 million, while December 2014 set a record with 343 million.

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Dan Taylor-Watt, head of BBC iPlayer, defended the service in a blog post.

He wrote: "iPlayer usage changes significantly depending on the season with higher volumes of requests in the autumn and winter months, and lower volumes in the spring and summer."

That is, apart from special events like the Olympics, which "buck the iPlayer trend", he claimed.

Taylor-Watt added: "Also, as the majority of iPlayer consumption is still catch-up TV, there is a strong link between what's broadcast on 'telly' and programmes requested on iPlayer."

In other words, it's summer and there's not much on.

He also claimed that the stats "undercounted requests from TV devices". Because the service is available on so many platforms, including mobile devices and games consoles, it's tricky keeping track of them all.

March alone saw an estimated 17 million missing requests, for instance. As it's not possible to verify that number, they're excluded from the figures.

Also excluded are short iPlayer specials like 'Frankie Boyle's Election Autopsy' and off-schedule one-offs like 'Adam Curtis: Bitter Lake'.

He also said that since launching in 2007, iPlayer has seen over 14 billion requests for TV and radio programmes, and that over the last year, it had 10% more requests than the previous year.

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