Michael Jackson Memorial Watched by Millions

A total U.S. television audience of 31 million people watched Tuesday’s memorial service for Michael Jackson, according to Nielsen.

Broadcast in the afternoon on all major broadcast networks and cable news channels–18 channels total carried live coverage–the tune-in was only about half of the 62 million that Oprah Winfrey’s Jackson interview for ABC drew in prime time in 1993.

Of course, with many folks at work and watching the proceedings online, the total memorial audience was probably much bigger–CNN said it delivered 9.7 million live video streams of the service, for example, while Yahoo News reported 5 million.

Click here for photos from the extravagant Michael Jackson memorial service

Globally, the total audience for the memorial service was undoubtedly in the hundreds of millions. Germany, for example, reported 20 million TV viewers.

Michael Jackson’s televised farewell ranks as the second most-watched funeral ever.

Princess Diana’s funeral, which began at 6 a.m., was watched by 33.25 million viewers spread across just eight networks in 1997. Former President Ronald Reagan’s mid-day funeral on June 11, 2004, drew 20.8 million viewers.

The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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