The service, which has long been seen as a bellwether of online video streaming trends, saw mobile devices overtake computers for the first time in September, according to the BBC’s figures.
“20m downloads of the BBC iPlayer mobile app marks a golden age of public service television and cements iPlayer's role as BBC's fifth channel, enabling audiences to fit their enjoyment of the full range of BBC programmes around their busy lives,” said BBC iPlayer head of TV content Victoria Jaye.
Three years ago iPlayer accounted for only 5m requests a month from mobiles and tablets a month, a figure which has now grown to 176m requests.
“With tablets at the top of many people's Christmas list for 2013, we expect this to continue to grow even further,” said BBC iPlayer head, Dan Taylor.
Earlier this month BBC director general Tony Hall announced the broadcaster would be shifting its focus to iPlayer as the corporation’s primary platform for its programming.