Research has shown that Big Brother, the UK's largest webcast to date, has been a success for all concerned, even before last week's forced eviction of one contestant further boosted web traffic.
The show, which started six weeks ago, placed 10 contestants in an isolated house, monitored by CCTV and webcams and with no outside contact. Each week, members of the house nominate two contestants, one of which is evicted following a public vote.
Some 700,000 home surfers paid the website a visit during the 18 days it was online in July, according to home internet audience monitor Net Value, giving it a reach figure of 6.9 per cent.
This means it was one of the UK's top 50 websites in a chart dominated by portals and the sites of internet service providers.
Morgan Holt, editor of Big Brother Online, told vnunet.com that web traffic has since increased, trebling on 17 August as viewers logged on to watch the unscheduled eviction, for cheating, of Nick Bateman, a 32-year-old competitor dubbed Nasty Nick for his scheming approach.
Last week, UK viewers complained bitterly after the website was temporarily taken offline by a member of the production team apparently because he feared a violent confrontation was about to take place.
Other contestants, who Bateman had successfully played off against each other for five weeks before being rumbled, rounded on him after discovering he had cheated, and traffic surged as viewers logged on to watch his unscheduled eviction at 5pm later that day.
Even before this, Net Value said the show had been a hit in its own right and for its web partners Real Networks, the makers of the streaming audio technology necessary to watch the webcast, Channel 4 and Demon Internet.
"Real Networks re-entered the top 10 rankings for the first time since March, no doubt due to the runaway success of Big Brother," Net Value's report said.
The Channel 4 website, which has a direct link to the Big Brother site, has also enjoyed a huge surge in visitor numbers: the website's reach leapt from 1.8 per cent in June to 7.1 per cent in July.
Demon.net, which provides video streams to the webcast, saw its reach rise from 1.8 per cent to 2.9 per cent, making it the number one audio/video streaming website in the UK.
However, Big Brother still has some way to go before breaking into the UK's favourite top 10 sites. Web portal excite.co.uk, the tenth most popular website in July, attracted 1.975 million visitors, giving it a reach of 19.4 per cent.
UK home surfers' Top 10 websites, as compiled by Net Value
|Ranking||(Last month)||Web address||Reach (% of all UK home surfers)|
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