List of most watched television broadcasts
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The following is a partial list of most watched television broadcasts, organized by country and based on various criteria.
- This television-related list is incomplete; you can help by .
Worldwide viewership statistics cited in press releases by television networks, FIFA, the NFL and others have been questioned by independent groups and audience figures cited in billions are considered practically unverifiable. FIFA has admitted that numbers have been massively exaggerated in some cases, and simply guessed in others.
Estimates for the 2008 Summer Olympics opening ceremony global TV viewership varied between one and four billion,including an estimated 842 million viewers watching on host Chinese broadcaster China Central Television. A verifiable audience of 984 million tuned in to the opening ceremony at some stage, averaging at 593 million, while 778 million watched the closing ceremony. The 2008 Summer Olympics is the current record holder for a multi-day broadcast. It is estimated by Nielsen Media Research that up to 4.7 billion individual viewers (70% of the world's population) watched some part of the coverage.
The 2006 FIFA World Cup Final was watched by 715 million people, as estimated by FIFA. IPG independent media agency Initiative Worldwide estimated an average of 260 million, with 600 million who tuned for some part of the game. The independent firm Initiative Futures Sport + Entertainment estimate a reach of 638 million and an average of 322 million viewers.
On July 20, 1969, 530 million people watched the first humans ever to walk on the surface of the moon (this constituted around 14% of total population of the world at the time), despite the fact that the first moonwalk took place in the middle of the night in Europe (at 2:56 AM in the United Kingdom and 3:56 AM in France and Germany) and it was not broadcast at all in the Eastern Bloc  except Romania 
A satellite broadcast for an Elvis Presley show live from Hawaii, titled Aloha from Hawaii on January 14, 1973 is reported to have reached 1–1.5 billion viewers globally.[unreliable source?] Some breakdowns of the figures suggest 40% of the Japanese television audience, and 91.8% of the television audience in the Philippines, with an estimated 51% of the American television audience when it aired later in America on April 4, 1973.
The 2011 Cricket World Cup semi-final between India and Pakistan is reported to have been watched by about one billion people by The Guardian, which if accurate would mean it had more than twice as many viewers as the actual final, which was watched by 400 million people based on the available data.
The annual Eurovision Song Contest is reported to have between 100 and 600 million viewers, depending on the source.
Many events in the world have been reported as been watched by large audiences, sometimes by billions - although most of the figures do not have reliable sources, and are given by the promoters of such events to boost viewership, sometimes before the actual airing.The wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton was expected to draw a global audience of two billion, but only drew a verified audience of 161 million viewers from 47% of the world population. Other examples are the wedding of Charles, Prince of Wales, and Lady Diana Spencer, the funeral of Diana, Princess of Wales Michael Jackson's memorial service, andthe rescue of the 33 trapped Chilean miners in 2010.
The list below is the top ten most watched broadcasts in Australia since 2001. These figures represents the Five Metro Capital audience (Syd-Mel-Bris-Per-Ade) and don't include regional figures.
|1||2005 Australian Open - Men's Singles Final: Marat Safin def. Lleyton Hewitt||4,045,000||2005||Seven Network|
|2||2003 Rugby World Cup Final||4,016,000||2003||Seven Network|
|3||MasterChef Australia (season 2) - finale challenge||3,962,000||25 July 2010||Network Ten|
|4||2012 State of Origin series Game 1 (New South Wales v Queensland)||3,957,000||2012||Nine Network|
|5||MasterChef Australia (season 1) - winners announcement||3,560,000||19 July 2009||Network Ten|
|6||2006 Commonwealth Games opening ceremony||3,560,000||2006||Nine Network|
|7||2005 AFL Grand Final (Sydney Swans v West Coast Eagles)||3,386,000||2005||Network Ten|
|8||Australian Idol: The final verdict||3,344,000||2004||Network Ten|
|9||Masterchef Australia: Finale night||3,313,000||19 July 2009||Network Ten|
|10||Australian Idol: The final verdict||3,330,000||2006||Network Ten|
Nielsen compiling ratings for television beginning in 1956; OzTAM began in 1999.
These are the programs that finished with the highest average Nielsen and OzTAM rating in each television season:
In 2009, MasterChef Australia became the most watched non-sporting event in Australian history.
The most watched television broadcast in Canadian history was the Gold medal game of the men's hockey tournament at the 2010 Winter Olympics, played between the United States and Canada at GM Place (renamed "Canada Hockey Place" for the Olympics) inVancouver. A confirmed 16.6 million Canadians watched the whole game, roughly one-half of the country's entire population. A groundbreaking 26.5 million Canadians watched some part of the game, over 80 percent of the country's 33-million-person population. According to multiple sources, 13.3 million Canadians watched the Opening Ceremonies of the Vancouver 2010 Olympics, which was the previous record.
Many believed the final game of the 1972 Summit Series had up to 18 million viewers, but those rumours have been proven false, as only 4.3 million people watched it. 10.3 million people watched the ice hockey gold medal final of the 2002 Winter Olympics.
China Central Television's Spring Festival Gala has regularly attracted between 700 million and one billion viewers since the early 1980s. As of 2007, their main evening news broadcast (Xinwen Lianbo) had a daily audience of around 135 million people, a low figure compared to earlier years.
Follow Me! a BBC beginner's English programme broadcast in China as part of the re-establishment of an educational system after the end of the Cultural Revolution. The programme, broadcast on one of China's three channels from 1981 to 1989, has been estimated to have attracted a nightly audience of 350 million people during the early 1980s.
The 2011 Cricket World Cup Final was watched by 135 million viewers across the country in cable & satellite, terrestrial and DTH homes aMap. The official broadcaster ESPN Star Sports (ESS) via its STAR Cricket channel experienced all-time high TRPs, had raised ad rates for 10 second slots during the finals to 24 lakh (US$47,900), prior to the final.
Most watched telecasts
The following are the most watched television programmes or events in New Zealand since 1 January 1995, according to Nielsen TAM ratings.
Most watched programmes
The following is a list of most watched programmes, excluding sporting events and news coverage. The mid-1980s introduction of in-week repeat showings accounts for six of the top ten programmes. On this measure, the 1996 Christmas edition of Only Fools and Horses is the most watched non-repeated, non-documentary programme of all time in the UK. It is the second most watched programme of all time on a single channel after the wedding of The Princess Anne in 1973 (see below).
Most watched films
(by total number of viewers; dates are when the films were broadcast, not necessarily when they were produced.)
Most watched special events
Most watched programmes per year
Note- The Royal Wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton (29 April 2011) received a total audience peak of 26 million viewers, but this is a combined figure aggregated from the ten different channels that broadcast the ceremony. The highest figures of these were 13.59 million on BBC1, followed by 4.02 million watching on ITV.
Top 46 network prime-time telecasts
The following is the top 46 network primetime telecasts between 1964 and 2010. Few post-1990 telecasts are listed. Before Fox's launch in October 1986, the Big Three television networks—ABC, CBS, and NBC—dominated nationwide broadcasting. Since cable and satellite television became widely available and viewed, typical American households have a far greater choice of programming from dozens or hundreds of specialty and broadcast channels, as opposed to the handful of broadcast channels during the era represented by most programs on this list. More recently,[specify] increased ease and prevalence of watching programming other than at its original airing (in reruns, by recording, by time-shifting, on-demand, by internet download, etc.) decreases the need for masses of viewers to tune into a single broadcast as well.
Of the 46 shows on this list:
Of the 46 shows, 15 were broadcast on each of NBC and CBS, 13 shows on ABC, and two shows on Fox. The 23 sports events on the list could be considered to carry their own audience, as compared to the notion that the efforts of any particular network caused the high viewership. All Super Bowl Ratings up to Super Bowl XLIII can be found in full here.
Final numbers for Super Bowl XLVI are also unavailable, but ESPN claimed it earned the most viewers in history, over last year's Super Bowl, with an estimated 111.3 million people.
Most watched series finales
(sources: Reuters, Variety, Nielsen Media Research, ratings data from USA Today weekly ratings charts)
The finale is not necessarily a show's most watched episode. Friends, for example, had 52.9 million viewers for a 1996 episode that followed Super Bowl XXX. 7th Heaven's initial finale was watched by 7.8 million on the WB, but was picked up by the new network The CW, however the show was cancelled after another season and its final episode was watched by 3.3 million people.
M*A*S*H and Cheers finales
The number of viewers for M*A*S*H (105.9 million) and Cheers (80.4 million) are the numbers most commonly reported. M*A*S*H has also been reported at 121.6 million viewers and Cheers has been reported at 93.1 million viewers. For M*A*S*H, 121.6 million represents the total audience who watched at least six minutes and the 105.9 million represents the viewers who watched the average minute. Regular episodes of M*A*S*H were thirty minutes long, but the final episode was two hours and thirty minutes.
Most watched U.S. TV series
Nielsen began compiling ratings for television beginning in 1950. Prior to that year, television ratings were compiled by a number of other sources, including C. E. Hooper (which was bought out by Nielsen in February 1950) and Variety.
American Idol holds the record for most consecutive seasons at #1, with eight, while All in the Family, and The Cosby Show share second place for most consecutive seasons at #1, with five each.
These are the programs that finished with the highest average Nielsen rating in each television season: