BBC's website will be its second biggest property after BBC1 by 2012, according to Director of Future Media and Teachnology Mike Huggers.

With the BBC VD service iPlayer providing a huge audience boost and the continued might of the BBC's local and national news teams, BBC.co.uk is one of the world's favourite internet destinations.

And Huggers, speaking at the European Media Leaders summit, suggests that it is quickly becoming a jewel in the crown of the broadcaster.

A whole new world (wide web)

"I would like to see a world where, by 2012, bbc.co.uk is only second to BBC One in terms of audiences and reach," Huggers is quoted as saying in the Press Gazette.

"Today it's still a drop in the ocean."

Huggers also talked about the reaction of many ISPs to the iPlayer – with demands that the extra bandwidth usage should be paid for by the corporation.

"Everyone said: 'Oh my God, the sky is falling in, the internet's going to come down' and the truth is it hasn't had an effect," Huggers said.

"This is not just a BBC problem. This is an issue that the industry needs to figure out how it's going to deal with."