King’s first Christmas message tops 10m viewers

Image credit: BBC

According to overnight watching statistics, King Charles’s first Christmas greeting received the highest viewership this century for the monarch’s customary holiday speech.

The 3 pm address was broadcast on more networks than ever before, with a combined audience of 10.7 million.

In contrast, 8.96 million people saw Queen Elizabeth II’s farewell Christmas address last year.

During his first joyous speech, the King praised his mother’s accomplishments.

He also used the occasion to consider the ongoing cost of living crisis as he spoke about people who were having a hard time making ends meet.

According to statistics compiled by Sussex University, the annual broadcast of the late Queen’s audience fell below 10 million in the late 1990s and has not risen beyond that level since.

The message has consistently garnered the most viewers on Christmas Day in recent years, but this is mostly due to viewers choosing to skip other holiday programmes or watch them later. Despite being pre-recorded, the Queen’s speech was still widely seen as a live event that should be watched at the time of transmission.

The King’s first message was broadcast concurrently on BBC One, ITV1, ITV3, Sky News, and GB News, with a signed version on BBC Two due to the increasing curiosity about what he would say.

With seven of the top ten series airing on BBC One, the BBC can also boast of having won the viewership war.

The estimated audience size is based on “overnight” statistics, which primarily reflect viewers who viewed the programmes live. They do not, therefore, count people who watch Christmas specials on catch-up services throughout the rest of the holiday season.

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