Nielsen: 31.1 Million Watched Jackson Memorial - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Nielsen: 31.1 Million Watched Jackson Memorial

Posted: Updated:
NEW YORK (AP) - Some 31.1 million people in the United States watched the Michael Jackson memorial on television, with millions more catching video streams on their computers.

The Nielsen Media Research estimate on Wednesday provided only a slice of the audience for the Los Angeles event. But it did offer insight on how the memorial compared to other events: President Barack Obama's inauguration in January was seen by 38 million people on TV, and the "American Idol" finale in May had 28.9 million viewers.

Eighteen different networks carried the memorial live, including all the big broadcasters and cable news stations, along with MTV, BET and the three largest Spanish-language stations. It had an audience share of 56, meaning that 56 percent of the televisions turned on during the memorial were tuned into Jackson.

Nielsen does not immediately have an estimate of Jackson's worldwide audience, a task that could take weeks.

Twelve years ago, 33.2 million people in the U.S. watched Princess Diana's funeral. That happened early on a Saturday morning, as opposed to the middle of a workday, and people then didn't have the option of watching it on their computers.

Complete estimates of the Internet audience were not immediately available, but individual Web sites reported some heavy traffic. MSNBC.com said it streamed nearly 19 million videos on Tuesday, a record for the site. Video streamers spent an average of 12 minutes on the site, MSNBC.com reported.

CNN.com said it had 10.5 million live streams, the second busiest day in its history. It streamed nearly 27 million videos on Obama's inauguration day. ABC News said its Web site had nearly 6 million video streams, with traffic up 70 percent over a typical day.

The event combined musical moments from the likes of Usher, Jennifer Hudson and Mariah Carey with remembrances from Brooke Shields, Magic Johnson and others. Brief heartfelt remarks by Jackson's 11-year-old daughter at the end stole the show.

Former President Reagan's funeral in 2004 was seen by 20.8 million viewers in the daytime hours, but his prime-time burial had an audience of 35.1 million people, Nielsen said. The opening ceremony of last year's Beijing Olympics had 34.2 million viewers.

Even for those viewers who watched Tuesday's Jackson memorial, there was still an appetite for more in prime time. ABC, CBS and NBC each had Jackson specials at 10 p.m. EDT and they had a combined audience of 20.5 million viewers. ABC won bragging rights for its Elizabeth Vargas-hosted hour focused on Jackson's children, with a leading 8.6 million viewers.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press.

  • Entertainment NewsEntertainment NewsMore>>

  • R. Kelly's trip to Dubai off for now as contracts reworked

    R. Kelly's trip to Dubai off for now as contracts reworked

    Friday, March 22 2019 12:11 AM EDT2019-03-22 04:11:40 GMT
    Saturday, March 23 2019 7:02 PM EDT2019-03-23 23:02:09 GMT
    (Photo by Frank Micelotta/Invision/AP, File). FILE - In this Jan. 25, 2014 file photo, recording artist R. Kelly performs at The 56th Annual Grammy Awards Salute to Industry Icons with Clive Davis in Beverly Hills, Calif. A Chicago judge is expected to...(Photo by Frank Micelotta/Invision/AP, File). FILE - In this Jan. 25, 2014 file photo, recording artist R. Kelly performs at The 56th Annual Grammy Awards Salute to Industry Icons with Clive Davis in Beverly Hills, Calif. A Chicago judge is expected to...
    (Photo by Frank Micelotta/Invision/AP, File). FILE - In this Jan. 25, 2014 file photo, recording artist R. Kelly performs at The 56th Annual Grammy Awards Salute to Industry Icons with Clive Davis in Beverly Hills, Calif. A Chicago judge is expected to...(Photo by Frank Micelotta/Invision/AP, File). FILE - In this Jan. 25, 2014 file photo, recording artist R. Kelly performs at The 56th Annual Grammy Awards Salute to Industry Icons with Clive Davis in Beverly Hills, Calif. A Chicago judge is expected to...
    A Chicago judge is expected to rule on whether to let R. Kelly to travel overseas to perform several concerts to help the cash-strapped singer pay legal and other bills as he faces sex-abuse charges. 
    A Chicago judge is expected to rule on whether to let R. Kelly to travel overseas to perform several concerts to help the cash-strapped singer pay legal and other bills as he faces sex-abuse charges. 
  • Barack Obama congratulates A-Rod J. Lo on their engagement

    Barack Obama congratulates A-Rod J. Lo on their engagement

    Friday, March 22 2019 11:41 AM EDT2019-03-22 15:41:12 GMT
    Saturday, March 23 2019 7:02 PM EDT2019-03-23 23:02:06 GMT
    (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP, File). FILe - In this Feb. 24, 2019 file photo, Jennifer Lopez, left, and Alex Rodriguez arrive at the Oscars  at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles.  Barack Obama is feeling the love about the engagement of Lopez an...(Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP, File). FILe - In this Feb. 24, 2019 file photo, Jennifer Lopez, left, and Alex Rodriguez arrive at the Oscars at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. Barack Obama is feeling the love about the engagement of Lopez an...
    (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP, File). FILe - In this Feb. 24, 2019 file photo, Jennifer Lopez, left, and Alex Rodriguez arrive at the Oscars  at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles.  Barack Obama is feeling the love about the engagement of Lopez an...(Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP, File). FILe - In this Feb. 24, 2019 file photo, Jennifer Lopez, left, and Alex Rodriguez arrive at the Oscars at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. Barack Obama is feeling the love about the engagement of Lopez an...
    Barack Obama is feeling the love about the engagement of Jennifer Lopez and Alex Rodriguez. 
    Barack Obama is feeling the love about the engagement of Jennifer Lopez and Alex Rodriguez. 
  • Papa John's scores Shaq to help revive its image

    Papa John's scores Shaq to help revive its image

    Friday, March 22 2019 11:51 AM EDT2019-03-22 15:51:12 GMT
    Saturday, March 23 2019 7:02 PM EDT2019-03-23 23:02:01 GMT
    Papa John's has a new pitchman: Shaquille O'Neal. 
    Papa John's has a new pitchman: Shaquille O'Neal. 
Powered by Frankly
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2019 KFMB-TV. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy, and Terms of Service, and Ad Choices.