Nearly 65 million people around the world are bypassing internet restrictions to watch the BBC’s shows online, according to new research.
The study, from GlobalWebIndex, interviewed more than 47,000 people from around the globe.
This included people in countries such as China, India, Japan, the US, Brazil, Germany and France.
The free catch-up TV service is meant to only be available in the UK, but in China alone it is thought that there are 38.5 million people using it, with shows such as Sherlock hugely popular, accoridn gto the report.
The report stated: “Although the iPlayer is funded by the UK licence fee and is therefore geo-restricted to be viewable only by people resident in the country, GWI’s data shows that the service has a huge global audience – with many turning to virtual private networks (VPNs) or proxy servers in order to access the service from abroad.”
The report said that at a global level about a quarter of online adults are using VPN technology. It added that accessing “better entertainment content” was by far the most popular reason for using them.
In every country that the report surveyed 1% to 8% of online adults admitted they were using VPNs and have accessed the iPlayer.