29.2 Million U.S. Viewers Tuned Into 2018 Royal Wedding, and NBC Was No. 1

By A.J. Katz Comment

29.2 million people tuned into the Royal Wedding of Prince Harry of Wales and American actress Meghan Markle (now officially the Duke and Duchess of Sussex) on Saturday May 19, per Nielsen data. As one might expect, viewership of yesterday’s festivities was significantly up from the Royal Wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton in 2011 (22.8 million).

In the U.S., while coverage varied by network the wedding ceremony of was carried live from approximately 7 a.m. a.m. ET to 8:15 a.m. ET on 15 networks. The networks carrying live coverage of the ceremony included ABC (inclusive of Freeform simulcast), BBC America, CBS, CNN, CNNe, E!, Fox News Channel, HLN, MSNBC, NBC, PBS, Telemundo, TLC and Univision.

11 networks carried the 2011 Royal Wedding in the U.S.: ABC, CBS, NBC, TEL, UNI, BBCA, CNN, E!, FOXNC, MSNBC, TLC

NBC News was the big winner of the day. It sent a ton of its talent and resources to Windsor, and it ended up money well spent because the network ended up finishing No. 1 in the TV news ratings race in all measurements.

Royal Wedding common coverage (6 a.m. – 9 a.m ET)

  • NBC delivered 6,417,000 total viewers / 2,314,000 A25-54
  • ABC delivered 6,348,000 total viewers / 1,984,000 A25-54
  • CBS delivered 4,786,000 total viewers / 1,392,000 A25-54
  • Fox News delivered 1,941,000 total viewers /425,000 A25-54
  • CNN delivered 1,793,000 total viewers / 604,000 A 25-54
  • MSNBC delivered 994,000 total viewers / 241,000 A25-54

NBC averaged 6.42 million viewers from 6 – 9 a.m. ET, edging ABC’s 6.35 million (+1 percent) and CBS’ 4.79 million (+34 percent).  NBC was the sole network to eclipse 2 million A25-54 viewers (2.31 million), posting a +17 advantage over ABC and +66 percent advantage over CBS.

Today also won across the board on Friday in the lead-up to the Royal Wedding. Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb co-anchored the usual 7-9 a.m. live from an exclusive vantage point directly overlooking Windsor Castle, and were joined by Megyn Kelly, Kathie Lee Gifford, Al Roker and Sheinelle Jones. Today averaged 4.25 million viewers, with 1.46 million in the key A25-54 demo on Friday.

Fox News was the most-watched cable news network for Royal Wedding morning coverage (1.94 million), while CNN was No. 1 among younger viewers, including A25-54 (604,000).

FNC averaged more than 2 million viewers from 6 – 10 a.m. ET, ahead of CNN (1.76 million) and MSNBC (987,000). CNN averaged 601,000 A25-54 viewers during that same time period, followed by Fox News (447,000) and MSNBC (243,000).

CNN replayed the Royal Wedding in prime time, ranking No. 1 across the board, including 1.625 million total viewers and 465,000 demo viewers. Among 25-54, CNN outperformed MSNBC by +250 percent (465,000 vs. 133,000) and Fox News by +72 percent (465,000 vs. 270,000). Neither FNC nor MSNBC replayed the wedding in prime.

The coverage of The Royal Wedding ranked among the top 5 biggest Saturdays of all time for CNN’s digital platforms, with all key metrics surpassing the 2011 Royal Wedding (unsurprisingly). CNN Digital saw 22 million unique visitors on Saturday, including 17 million video starts and 1.9 million live starts on the live stream of the wedding.

Royal Wedding content across NBC News digital platforms saw more than 10 million views and the live stream saw more than 4.6 million views across all platforms.

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