BBC's Interactive TV and Broadband Video Coverage of Glastonbury Festival Sets Records

The BBC said Wednesday that record numbers of people watched coverage of this year's Glastonbury Festival on-demand through its dedicated festival Web site and through its BBC Red Button interactive TV service. According to the corporation, the site--which offered highlights of around 60 acts playing on the festival's main stages--received 7.2 million video requests. Lady Gaga's performance proved the biggest draw, the BBC says, with 1.3 million requests, followed by Lily Allen's with 762,000 requests, and Blur's with 538,000 requests. The corporation says that these figures represent a four-fold increase over last year, when the most popular artist on its Glastonbury site was headliner, Jay Z, with 119,000 video requests.

According to the BBC, the Web site peaked on Saturday, June 27th, with 229,000 daily unique users, exceeding last year's peak of 175,000 uniques. During the week following the festival, the corporation says, the Web site had 437,000 unique viewers, compared to 326,000 last year.

The BBC also says that over 6.1 million viewers watched its red-button coverage during the three-day event, making it the most popular music event ever shown through the red button. Viewers could access up to five streams of coverage through the red button, including 30-minute catch-ups of highlights of most of the sets that the BBC was filming, and one stream "dedicated to visualizing [BBC Radio] 6 Music's coverage" of the event. In addition, after the festival, viewers could press red to access catch-up coverage.

For the first time this year, the BBC's coverage included three Web cams placed around the festival grounds, allowing online viewers to select between live streaming footage from the Pyramid stage, from the BBC 6 Music studio, and from a location that provided an overview of the grounds' park area. According to the BBC, the Web cams generated 238,000 views. "I'm delighted with these figures and very proud of what we've delivered this year," Mark Friend, the BBC's controller of multiplatform and interactive, Audio & Music, said in a prepared statement. "We are seeing an amazing reaction from our audience to the multiplatform approach that we are pursuing, especially the demand for video. We wanted to make sure our audiences could enjoy the festival even if they weren't there and catch up with their favorite acts when it suited them."