Media set for first wedding of the internet age
Global - In 1981 a TV audience of 750 million watched Charles and Diana tie the knot, but today a global audience of 2 billion is expected to see Kate Middleton walk down the aisle – but not necessarily on TV.
Media organisations from around the globe have been preparing for what some are predicting to be the biggest TV event in history.
Global news organisations like CNN are pulling out all stops to cover the event online, on TV, on mobile and just about every other possible means in today's media saturated world.
CNN's global coverage, for example, will uniquely incorporate Facebook, Twitter and iReport, the network's global participatory news community, on-air integration to allow consumers to share their experience in real-time, as well as contribute first-person perspectives on the day's events.
CNN is also offering up special two-dimensional barcodes that will appear throughout CNN’s special coverage of the Royal Wedding allowing viewers with smartphones to “scan” the code, which automatically loads the CNN Mobile Royal Wedding Planner.
Meanwhile, The BBC, the Home of the British Royal Wedding, will have the live feed beamed on BBC World News, BBC Knowledge Asia, BBC Entertainment in India and Asia.
Besides its television coverage, the online audiences will also get a chance to keep pace via the special Royal Wedding section on BBC.com.
In its 100-day countdown to 29 April, the BBC's Global News team across multiple platforms has been covering various programmes and reporting on Monarchy, the Couple and other related stories on the Royal Wedding in the lead up to the Day.
"We have had considerable advertiser interest in Asia and India with luxury brands and travel advertisers who were keen on buying into the spot buy and sponsorship opportunities on BBC World News and BBC Entertainment India, and also online with BBC.com in key regions," Sunita Rajan, vice president, advertising sales, Asia, BBC Worldwide, said.
However, Rajan, added that there will be limited advertising opportunities pre and post the main Wedding Ceremony on Friday with no advertising during the live feed.
In Hong Kong MSN, through its ad sales partner Pixel Media, struck a deal with scotch whisky brand Royal Salute as title sponsor of its special Royal Wedding coverage.
MSN's coverage will include stories, videos and photos from AFP and from in-house contributors.
Kevin Huang, CEO of Pixel Media, said the site has gained good traction since going live a few weeks ago. “It’s more localised and relevant to Hong Kong people,” he said.
And online will certainly be a critical part of the big day. Globally, the British monarchy is promising to make the wedding an internet-friendly event, with a live feed on YouTube and updates on Facebook and Twitter running via an official royal-wedding website.
The British monarchy, in partnership with Google, has set up a dedicated video guest book and opened up an official Royal Channel for anyone in the YouTube community to upload messages of congratulations, inspiration or well wishes to the happy couple.
Alongside the live stream, The Royal Channel will also feature live blog commentary of the event to give timely updates and insights as the day unfolds.
Google is already heralding the wedding as the first of the internet age. "For the first time in thousands of years of royal history, the moment will be captured online and preserved forever," it said via its official blog.
But are the media monetising the huge opportunity and audience? Not as much as you would think.
Desh Balakrishnan, media director at MPG, said very little clients had shown interest in advertising around the Royal Wedding. He said there had been some limited interest BBC's Asia Pacific feed, but little else.
CNN reiterated it was an event for the viewers and not necessarily advertisers. And, of course, the bride and groom to be.
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