…By Alan Peterson for TDPel Media.
Provisional figures have shown that over 18 million viewers in the UK watched the coronation service of King Charles III at Westminster Abbey.
The ceremony was broadcast on several channels between approximately 11am and 1pm on Saturday, including BBC One and Two, ITV, and Sky News.
An average of 18.8 million people watched the event across 11 channels and services, with the audience peaking at 20.4 million when the King was crowned just after midday.
These ratings are not quite as high as those for the funeral service of the late Queen in September 2021, which was seen by 26.5 million people across more than 50 TV channels.
It is difficult to compare these ratings to those for the Queen’s coronation in 1953 since there were no reliable figures at the time.
The BBC conducted its own surveys to estimate the number of viewers based on what people had seen or heard on the television and radio.
Based on surveys carried out after the coronation, the BBC estimated that more than 20 million adults in Britain saw its television coverage of the event.
This is a remarkable number considering that only 2.1 million households had a TV license on March 31, 1953, nine weeks before the coronation.
However, estimates of TV audiences from the 1950s cannot be compared directly with TV ratings as they are measured today since the methods used to measure TV audiences were also in their infancy at that time.
The current method of calculating TV audiences was established only in 1981 by the audience research organization Barb.
Since then, the highest TV audience on record was for the funeral service of Diana, Princess of Wales, which was seen by 31 million people on the BBC and ITV in September 1997.
The King’s coronation had a lower combined audience than Boris Johnson’s televised address in March 2020 announcing the first Covid-19 lockdown, which was watched by 28.2 million people.
The ratings were also lower than those for the opening and closing ceremonies of the London 2012 Olympic Games and the final of the Euro 2020 football championship.
Nonetheless, the coronation did overtake the viewer ratings for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee concert, which was watched by an average of 13.1 million people on BBC One.
The ratings for the King’s coronation are impressive, with over 18 million viewers tuning in to watch the lavish ceremony.
While these ratings are not as high as those for the funeral service of the late Queen, they are still remarkable considering the number of channels and services broadcasting the event.
The lack of reliable figures for the Queen’s coronation in 1953 makes it difficult to compare the two events, but it is clear that television has come a long way since then in terms of measuring audience figures.
It is interesting to note that while the coronation ratings were lower than those for some major sporting events and political announcements, they still managed to attract a large audience.
This suggests that there is still a significant appetite for traditional ceremonial events that are steeped in history and tradition.