The expectation from ‘cord cutters’ that TV can be safely dispensed with seem at best premature, and at worst foolish, especially if last Friday’s Royal Wedding are any guide. Yahoo gleefully reported that 40,000 requests per second were being made for footage of William and Kate. That’s a praiseworthy number, and as far as Yahoo is concerned outperforms by 18 per cent the next most-requested web content, that of the recent Japan earthquake and tsunami.
However, large as these web-demands are, they are still dwarfed by actual live viewing of TV. The UK, which admittedly went ‘wedding crazy’, saw more than 24 million people tuning in to one or other of the main networks (BBC 20 million+, ITV 6.1 million, Sky News 600,000), and immediately ranked as one of the Top Ten most-watched television broadcasts of all time.
It was much the same in the USA, which despite the event being well outside primetime, saw 23 million viewers tuning in to the main networks, all of which carried the live feed. This number is nothing when compared to a Super Bowl, when 110 million usually watch. However, web-based live services such as E! Online saw 23.6 million ‘page views’ on Friday, perhaps reflecting the numbers trapped at work and away from a TV set.
To re-set the TV balance, Barbara Walters and Diane Sawyer saw a special London-based edition of Good Morning America on ABC capture 8.7 million viewers, a near-20 year record for the show. A CBS evening special anchored by Katie Couric topped the TV ratings with 8.6 million watching.