The most-watched television broadcasts of all time

19 May 2023

The King’s Coronation is set to monopolise entertainment channels across the globe this weekend, with millions of people tuning in to witness the historic event live as it streams from Westminster Abbey. This got the team at BeFibre reminiscing over the high-profile broadcasts that have dominated our screens over the years, and wondering which era-defining cultural touchstones have captured the attention of millions before us too.

Here, we’re taking a look at the most-watched moments of all time…

Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II

The Queen’s Coronation in 1953 marked the thirty-ninth Sovereign to be crowned at Westminster Abbey. But it wasn’t just a pivotal moment in the history of Britain and our royal family. With over 27 million viewers tuning in to watch the ceremony alone — and another 44 countries having access to the broadcast too — it also cemented the medium’s power to bring people together in shared cultural experiences.

Apollo 11 Moon Landing

Another landmark broadcast that captured the world’s imagination, the 1969 moon landing hooked over 600 million people who were keen to catch a glimpse of Neil Armstrong taking his first steps on the lunar surface. The broadcast was an incredible technical feat too, as it required transmitting footage from the moon to Earth via a relay system that had never been used before. Look at how far we’ve come!

1990 FIFA World Cup final 

In a repeat of the final from the 1986 world cup, West Germany beat defending champions Argentina at Rome’s Stadio Olimpico, and were crowned champions for the third time. The match was broadcast to more than 160 countries and watched by over a quarter of the world’s population at the time, drawing an estimated one billion viewers — making it the most-watched sporting event of all time.

London Olympics opening ceremony 

Over 900 million across the globe watched the quadrennial sporting spectacle that was the Olympics opening ceremony in 2012. The London-hosted event brought together a range of British cultural icons and included a performance by famed rock band Queen, who performed ‘We Will Rock You’. Praised for its inclusivity and celebration of diversity, it was a proud moment that laid the foundations for a successful series of games to come.

Super Bowl LVII

Due to its large American audience and increasing coverage in Europe, the annual Super Bowl remains one of the most-watched television events in the world. According to viewership figures, the LVII 2023 edition is the most historically prominent — which saw the Kansas City Chiefs emerge victorious against the Philadelphia Eagles, with 115 million viewers tuned in. More than just a sporting event, the halftime show has turned the Super Bowl into a major cultural phenomenon that unites people from all walks of life.

The evolution of content demand

While traditional broadcasts such as these will continue to captivate audiences in their masses, the way we consume media continues to evolve rapidly. Platforms like Netflix and YouTube are rising up the entertainment ranks — boasting on-demand streaming possibilities that can be watched on any device, at any time, in any location.

According to Parrot Analytics — which captures, weighs, and combines a plethora of audience touchpoints into a single content demand statistic — Disney’s flagship Star Wars entry, The Mandalorian, has surpassed Game of Thrones and Stranger Things as the world’s most-watched series to-date.

Regardless of how the entertainment space takes shape over the coming years, one thing is for certain — people will always be drawn to shared cultural experiences that capture the imagination and bring communities together.

Where can I watch the King’s Coronation this weekend?

The live broadcast will be covered across BBC One, ITV, Sky News, and BBC iPlayer from 10.15am on Saturday 6 May — with coverage leading up to the event starting at 6am.

The last thing a Coronation party needs is to suffer with the buffer. Make sure to check your network settings to ensure your broadband is fit for royalty, and you can watch the event with a seamless, uninterrupted connection.

Don’t forget to share your Coronation selfies with us on LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, using #BeFibreMugshot!

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