Diana funeral topped royal wedding in U.S. ratings

Sun May 1, 2011 1:02am EDT
 
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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Almost 23 million American TV viewers tuned in to watch live coverage of Prince William's marriage to Kate Middleton on Friday despite the wedding taking place before dawn in much of the United States.

But according to Nielsen ratings data released on Saturday, U.S. TV viewing interest in the British royal nuptials in London was far below that of Princess Diana's funeral in 1997.

Nielsen said 22.7 million Americans watched live coverage of the royal wedding on 11 U.S. networks. The U.S. population is about 310 million people.

In comparison, 33.2 million tuned in to watch the funeral of Princess Diana in London in September 1997. Diana, the mother of Prince William, was killed in car crash at the age of 36.

The Nielsen figures did not cover the millions more who watched Friday's wedding ceremony on smaller U.S. networks, nor online, where interest in the couple has rivaled coverage of superstar movie actresses and pop singers in recent months.

E! Online alone reported a record 23.6 million page views on Friday thanks mostly to its coverage of the London nuptials and live streaming of the royal wedding ceremony.

Worldwide, other estimates put the global television and online audience for the wedding at 2.4 billion people -- more than one in three of the global population if the figure is accurate.

(Reporting by Jill Serjeant; Editing by Will Dunham)

 
<p>Souvenir postcards on sale to mark the forthcoming wedding of Britain's Prince William and Catherine Middleton are seen at a shop in London, January 27, 2011. REUTERS/Paul Hackett</p>