Long-standing soap reigned in more viewers than combined U.K. news outlet coverage
Since Kate Middleton went into labor early Monday morning, Brit news outlets such as BSkyB and BBC News had virtually non-stop coverage of the event and when the news broke that the Duchess of Cambridge had given birth to a boy just before 8.30p.m. BST, a combined peak of 4.9 million viewers across these channels and BBC One tuned into the broadcasts.
This repped 22.23% of the overall TV viewing audience in the country.
BBC One abandoned its regular schedule and went straight to a news special, which was broadcast between 8.30p.m. and 10p.m. BST, which averaged 2.9 million viewers (13.44%) and offered live updates from St. Mary’s Hospital and Buckingham Palace.
Coverage peaked for the channel over the five minutes from 8.55p.m. with 3.38 million viewers. Meanwhile, BBC News Channel peaked at 895,000 (4.05%) while Sky News hit a high of 636,000 (2.87%).
The peak coincided with the end of long-running soap “Coronation Street” on ITV, which averaged 7.77 million viewers (34.96%) as the news of the birth of the royal son broke. The program did finish slightly earlier than 9pm in order to air an ITV News special, which was broadcast for an hour and the lead-in from “Corrie” helped bring in 3.51 million viewers (16.49%).
While the royal birth certainly gave a boost to news ratings across the U.K., the event failed to beat out ratings for Andy Murray’s Wimbledon final victory on July 7.
The British tennis star’s straight sets win over Novak Djokovic had a five-minute peak audience on BBC One of 17.29 million people, which amounted to 79.6% share of overall U.K. TV audience at the time.
The Beeb said an average audience of 12.1 million viewers tuned in for the match.