Blog Post

How The Wedding Was Watched: Social Media Does A Royal Flyover

If you, like millions of others, witnessed any of today’s Royal Wedding between Prince William and Kate Middleton on the TV, Internet or in person, you will have seen the crowds that assembled down the Mall, around Westminster Cathedral, in front of Buckingham Palace, and in many other places. But as expected, crowds hit the media world, too — with some sites like the BBC’s buckling under the pressure.

Crashes. The BBC experienced some “technical issues” from the weight of traffic to the site, which resulted in some people being unable to stream coverage from the site.

So far, there has been no word that the same issue affected YouTube (NSDQ: GOOG), which was rebroadcasting the BBC’s feed as part of its official royal channel. Some reports of other sites, such as Twitpic, also buckling under posting pressure.

Twitter, Facebook: Social networks appeared completely dominated by Royal Wedding chatter during the event, underscoring how this has definitely become one way (or a simultaneous way) of “watching” a live event. Here’s one shot of the trending topics on Twitter, taken at 12:23 Greenwich Mean Time:

TV on top. Even so, it looks like initial numbers — even those being gathered informally on the Internet itself — confirm that traditional TV was the most-used channel for watching the wedding. A poll on Mashable currently puts TV at 40 percent of all Royal Wedding views, with livestreams at just under 20 percent. Notably, “not at all” was just over 30 percent of all respondents. Multiple screens was six percent.

Despite the number of mobile apps that we’ve seen come out related to the wedding, it looks like mobile played a small role when it came down to the live event. In that Mashable poll, mobile viewers accounted for under two percent of all views.

More to consume. The official Twitter account of Clarence House, the residence of the Prince of Wales, tweets that all the music from the ceremony will be available for downloading from iTunes. All the programs and other details from the event can also be downloaded from the official site.

Royal swag? TechCrunch reports that eBay (NSDQ: EBAY) searches for Royal Wedding-related items have grown by 1,815 percent this year, with $70,000 of transactions on 3,000 items in the month of April alone.

The Guardian has a nifty real-time infographic measuring Twitter keyword frequency around the event, which I must say has gotten significantly more random as the event fades into the past.

2 Responses to “How The Wedding Was Watched: Social Media Does A Royal Flyover”

  1. Michael Girard

    It makes sense the TV viewing would be the most use-channel for watching the Royal Wedding. The fact that social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook saw huge spikes in traffic as well is, again, not very surprising. Within the television broadcasting industry, there is a well established pattern of “conversational viewing,” or watching something live on TV while you tweet with other people who are viewing the same thing .

    It’s an amazing way to connect with strangers from around the world and share your thoughts and insights with one another.

    Michael Girard
    Community Engagement, Radian6

  2. Stuart Reed

    I watched it on tvcatchup on there were no glitches at all, this is after I tried to watch it on the BBC’s own site #BBCfail #tvcatchupwin
    Perhaps the guys over at tvcatchup should show the BBC how to broadcast their own stream lol