Two Billion did NOT Watch the Royal Wedding - Probably a Few Hundred Million Sheep Did
2011 05 06

By Phil Gyford | gyford.com



If you ever get that sneaking suspicion that too much of the authoritative-sounding facts in the news are mindlessly made up, it’s great when you find evidence of this. Everyone from the Daily Mail and the Sun, through the Croydon Advertiser and Shropshire Star, on to CNN, the Daily Telegraph and the Guardian blindly reported that “an estimated two billion people” watched the royal wedding.

Whenever real journalists complain that bloggers — mere amateurs! — couldn’t possibly do the work of professionals who have been through proper training, it’s exactly this kind of nonsense that permits you to stare at them, silently, before giving a little giggle and walking away.

There are lots of difficult and ambiguous things that anyone, professional or amateur, could understandably get wrong when reporting news. We all make mistakes and many things are complicated. But for all these very professional news outlets to repeat a “fact” that’s plainly wrong, without even attributing it to anyone, makes you wonder about everything they write.

Really, two billion people? At Sporting Intelligence Nick Harris has a piece in which he pulls out some other high viewing figures.

For example, according to the India Times, the viewership rating agency TAM said the most-watched TV event in India was the 2011 India vs Sri Lanka cricket world cup final, with 135 million viewers. That’s only 11.7% of the Indian population.

The Royal Wedding would have to do a lot, lot better than that in India, China, and many other populous parts of the world where TV ownership is less than in the “West” to reach a global audience of two billion. Even the most fervent royalist can’t think that’s likely.

The Royal Wedding Kate & William - Real Audio


Really, two billion people? Stop and think before you file that article.

Two billion people is 29.5% of the world’s population.

In the UK the wedding was watched by around 24.5 million people according to BARB, or 39.6% of the UK population.

Does anyone think for a moment that global viewing figures would be three-quarters the level of those in the UK itself? Yes, journalists, I know these are terribly big numbers to deal with but you did all that training, remember? You’re professionals. You’re supposed to question things and when something is as simple as one number, this shouldn’t be too much to ask.

If you want to get complicated you could ask whether the “actual” viewing figures, like those from BARB and TAM, have any basis in reality, or if they’re merely something the advertising-funded TV industry doesn’t want to look at too closely for fear their towers of money will come tumbling down… but maybe that’s too much to ask.

Source: gyford.com



Related Articles


Latest News from our Front Page

EU on high alert as Germany accepts Ebola patients
2014 07 30
A German hospital has agreed to treat Ebola patients amid widespread fears of a possible outbreak of the deadly disease in Europe. Over 670 people have already been killed by the disease in West Africa with doctors struggling to control the epidemic. A German hospital in Hamburg agreed to accept patients following a request from the World Health Organization (WHO), Deutsche ...
Bolivia declares Israel terrorist regime
2014 07 30
Bolivia has declared Israel a “terrorist state” and revoked a visa exemption agreement with Tel Aviv in protest at the ongoing Israeli attacks on the besieged Gaza Strip. The move "means, in other words, we are declaring (Israel) a terrorist state," President Evo Morales said during talks with a group of educators in the city of Cochabamba ...
Pagan Traditions: Mysteries of medieval graffiti in England’s churches
2014 07 30
Medieval graffiti of straw kings, pentagrams, crosses, ships and "demon traps" have been offering a tantalising glimpse into England’s past. What do the pictures reveal about life in the Middle Ages? A project to record the graffiti, which began in Norfolk, has now been rolled out to other areas and is gradually spreading across England. Armed with just a torch and a ...
More Gigantic Holes Appear in Siberia’s ’End of the World’
2014 07 30
Is it the end of the world in Siberia’s ’End of the World’? Scientists suspect not, but they’re still investigating the strange and alarming holes that are swallowing up the Siberian north. This week two new holes have been discovered, and with similar characteristics as the first reported hole: a very deep shaft with smooth sides, debris surrounding the rim, and water ...
BLACKLISTED: The Secret Government Rulebook For Labeling You a Terrorist
2014 07 30
The Obama administration has quietly approved a substantial expansion of the terrorist watchlist system, authorizing a secret process that requires neither “concrete facts” nor “irrefutable evidence” to designate an American or foreigner as a terrorist, according to a key government document obtained by The Intercept. The “March 2013 Watchlisting Guidance,” a 166-page document issued last year by the National Counterterrorism Center, ...
More News »