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GM Thought of the Week – Royal Wedding or FA Cup?

It may come as little surprise to learn that Prince William wasn’t the only person to choose the Royal Wedding over the FA Cup final this past weekend. Despite the general public not having access to events post the ceremony, and coverage starting immediately after the wedding coverage (and therefore no excuse to miss Chelsea’s glorious victory), the FA Cup final could only manage a peak audience of 8.7 million in the UK. That’s less than 2018’s first episode of Britain’s Got Talent, the previous holder of most viewed show of 2018 with a peak audience of 9.6 million.

These figures were of course eclipsed by the Royal wedding, with overnight estimates reporting a total audience of c.18 million. But with coverage available on multiple channels, which one would produce the highest peak audience (spoiler alert – it’s always BBC):


BBC 1 – 13.1m

ITV – 3.6m

Sky One – <500k

Sky News – <500k

BBC News –  <500k


It’s too early to say whether this was more or less than the marriage of William and Kate due to the consolidation period, however it looks to be a close run as the 2011 showpiece attracted a final consolidate audience of 17.6 million. Both of course however will pale into insignificance compared to 1981’s marriage of Prince Charles and Lady Di which was viewed by a colossal 28 million.

Given the fragmentation of audiences on both the main TV screen, and across various other devices, these sorts of numbers will in all likelihood never be seen again in the UK. To reflect this, it is interesting to see various news outlets move away from reporting simple TV viewing figures, but also reporting social media metrics in order to demonstrate the public’s engagement. For example, The Guardian report that 3.4 million tweets were sent during the ceremony, peaking at 40k tweets per minute during Bishop Michael Curry’s sermon:

3.4 million tweets is certainly an impressive total, but perhaps the best way to put this into context? This is the same number of retweets that Carter Wilkerson achieved when breaking the Twitter record last year in his quest to win a year’s supply of chicken nuggets:


Jonathan Chambers, Director of AV Investment