Live streams of royal wedding reign online
- James Mananghaya () - May 1, 2011 - 12:00am

NEW YORK – Prince William and Kate Middleton may have had a traditional wedding, but the Internet traffic that accompanied the ceremony was something very new for the royal family.

Millions followed the affair in live streams on their computers, all the while commenting on social media sites. Among the many outlets webcasting the event was the royal family itself, whose YouTube page offered live video and tweets from Clarence House, the prince’s official residence.

Akamai Technologies Inc., which delivers about 20 percent of the world’s Internet traffic, said global page views for the roughly 100 news portals for which it delivers content peaked at nearly 5.4 million a minute Friday morning.

That was good enough for the sixth largest amount of traffic ever, but well shy of the record of 10.4 million page views a minute set last June 24 during the 2010 World Cup.

Still, those numbers were very high considering that the wedding was so ubiquitous on TV and that it occurred, unlike the World Cup record day, when many people in North American and the United Kingdom were not at work, where computer-viewing is often a necessity.

Friday was a national holiday for the UK, and the ceremony took place early morning in the US.

For Filipinos living in the UK, the wedding was an occasion for them to unite and celebrate.

The wedding was a public holiday in the UK, giving millions of Britons and foreigners like Filipinos the opportunity to watch the event in Central London, from Buckingham Palace, the official residence of Queen Elizabeth, to Westminster Abbey, if not personally, on live television and streaming on their computers.

There was some evidence, though, that the wedding may have been live-streamed in record numbers. Because it was streamed on so many outlets, a total figure was hard to come by.

Akamai said that based on the approximately 25 broadcasters for which it delivered streams, the highest viewer count exceeded that of the World Cup traffic it supported.

Livestream, which partnered with The Associated Press, UK Press Association, CBS and Entertainment Tonight for its live stream, said it surpassed its own record with, at one point, more than 300,000 concurrent live streams.

Yahoo! said it experienced its largest traffic for a live video event, surpassing its audience for Michael Jackson’s funeral by 21 percent.

The royal wedding was streamed by, among others, CNN.com, NBC’s “Today Show” website and Fox. ABC streamed its coverage on Hulu and on Yahoo. CBS, PBS and ET also streamed the event on Ustream. E! streamed its coverage on Facebook.

Facebook said more than 6.8 million people globally commented on the wedding through public status updates within the past 24 hours, as of Friday afternoon.

On the social media site in the UK, David Beckham’s arrival prompted one of the largest surges in discussion with 9,000 mentions of his name in 20 minutes.

All the traffic caused some problems.

Web performance site AlertSite monitored 15 sites during the wedding. It found that while YouTube’s homepage had 100 percent availability, the Royal Wedding channel had 74 percent availability and slower response time. The highest amount of response time, of the sites surveyed by AlertSite, came from AccessHollywood.com, ABCNews.com and BBC.com.

The BBC said in a statement that it was “experiencing some technical issues with BBC Online due to the sheer weight of traffic which may cause the site to be slower than normal in some cases.”

The wedding day online audience was a culmination of rising Web traffic. There were 2.1 million tweets about the wedding over the last week. Google said that in the month of April, searches for “royal wedding” increased 90 percent. On April 25, searches on Google for “Kate Middleton” overtook those for “Lady Gaga.”

And on eBay, some 3,000 items related to the wedding were sold in April.

Watchers are now focused on where the couple would spend their honeymoon after millions of people around the world tuned in to watch the couple tie the knot in a dazzling display of royal pageantry.

Like other details of the wedding, including the designer of Middleton’s dress, the honeymoon venue is a closely kept secret, though that has not stopped everyone from guessing.

Suggestions have included locations as varied as the Seychelles, Kenya, Mustique, an island on Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, the Greek island of Corfu, a villa in Tuscany and the Scilly Isles off England’s southwest coast.

Bookmaker Paddy Power has Mustique as the favorite, followed by Jordan, the Seychelles and Australia.

The intense speculation over the couple’s every move underlines the pressure they will face as the future British king and queen living in the full glare of the media spotlight.

Uncomfortable parallels have been drawn between Middleton and William’s hugely popular mother Princess Diana, who was hounded by paparazzi right up to her death in a Paris car crash in 1997 aged just 36.

Her death, and divorce from Prince Charles the year before, marked a low point for the royal family, which has also been embroiled in scandal and seen by many as out of touch with the British public, particularly during austere economic times.

But Middleton’s background - she is the first commoner to marry a prince close to the British throne in over 350 years - and William’s personable style have helped reverse the monarchy’s rating in recent opinion polls, at least for now.

AKAMAI TECHNOLOGIES INC ASSOCIATED PRESS BOOKMAKER PADDY POWER BUCKINGHAM PALACE BUT MIDDLETON CENTRAL LONDON CLARENCE HOUSE TRAFFIC WEDDING WORLD CUP
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