Official television viewing numbers from the 1981 Royal Wedding have been located today by the independent TV rating agency – Nielsen TAM.
TVNZ only has ratings data from the last 15 years and although TV ONE broadcast the Royal Wedding live via satellite from St Paul’s Cathedral there are no records of how many kiwis watched Prince Charles and Lady Diana marry.
However, Nielsen TAM advised us earlier today that they had dug in to their archive and found a ratings book from the week of the Royal Wedding in 1981 that included total viewer numbers and some demographic detail.
NZ’s population was just over 3 million in 1981. Nielsen TAM’s ratings book shows 54% of the total population or 1.6 million viewers tuned in to watch Prince Charles and Lady Diana marry.
Nielsen TAM viewing data from Wednesday July 29, 1981:
– of all people watching television that night 94% watched the wedding
– the remaining 6% watched The Sullivans, Hammer House of Horrors and News at Ten on TV2 – the only other TV channel in 1981
– 82% of women aged over 40 watched
– 68% of men aged over 40 watched
– 68% of women aged 20-39 watched
– 49% of teenagers watched
– 48% of men aged 20-39 watched
– 15% of children aged 0-9 years were allowed to stay up late and watch
– In 1981 there was a ratings category called “housewives” – 724,000 or 78% of them watched
The live broadcast of the 1981 Royal Wedding ran from 8:45 – 11:45pm.
In 1981 there were only two TV channels – TV ONE and TV2. Ratings were collected via a diary system and transmission shut down at midnight.
30 years on, TV ONE is broadcasting the Royal Wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton live via satellite from Westminster Abbey. A detailed TV guide including ceremonial timings is listed below.