It had a great cast, went on forever, and while it lacked drama and punchy dialogue, television events don’t get much bigger than Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral. Just gauge how large, however, is not easy.
In Australia, TV audiences for the funeral’s broadcast peaked around 8 p.m. Monday night, as 3.46 million subway viewers (in the five mainland capitals) tuned into six free-to-air networks (Seven, Nine, 10 Bold, SBS, ABC and ABC News).
The total audience for free-to-air TV at the time was 4.6 million viewers – that was about a third more than on the same day a week earlier. That meant nearly three-quarters of people watching free-to-air TV in the five major cities Monday night were watching the Queen’s funeral.
In addition, the regional viewing figures peaked with about 1,527 million viewers. On pay TV, Sky drew a peak audience of 188,000 for its coverage. All told, it suggests an audience at its 8:00 PM peak of 5.17 million viewers. And since Australia’s population is about 26 million, that means about one in five of us was listening on TV at the time.
TV ratings, however, are usually reported with averages rather than peaks, and the numbers weren’t quite as regal at that measure.
The average audience for the main funeral service, which lasted approximately 75 minutes, was approximately 2.24 million in metro markets and 1.2 million in regions (note: these figures do not include viewing on devices other than TV).
By comparison, last year’s AFL final averaged 4.1 million nationally, while the NRL final drew 3.6 million viewers (these figures include catch-up films, which would almost certainly predict the audience for the funeral). will increase). The 2011 wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton was watched by an average audience of 4.09 million Australians.
It is reasonable to assume that interest in the funeral would be greatest in Commonwealth countries where the Queen was or had been the official head of state. The combined population of all 56 countries in the Commonwealth is approximately 2.5 billion. If the viewership followed the same pattern as Australia, that would translate to about 500 million people.