Online royal wedding coverage may set record

The web’s number crunchers are studying how Internet users tuned into online royal wedding coverage and as expected, it’s clear droves woke up early to witness the event.

The web’s number crunchers are studying how Internet users tuned into online royal wedding coverage and as expected, it’s clear droves woke up early to witness the event.

According to the company Akamai, traffic began to spike as the wedding began at 6 a.m. ET and there was a peak of 5,398,731 page views a minute at about 9:30 a.m. ET, which ranks sixth on its list of high-traffic web events. Akamai says Friday morning’s rush of traffic was about 43 per cent higher than normal.

Meanwhile, Canadian company Sandvine says it measured an increase in video traffic that was more than 20 per cent greater than the same time last week.

Akamai expects that once its final analysis is done, the royal wedding will set a record for the most concurrent web video streams played, narrowly edging out the 1.6 million streams that were running at the peak of the 2010 World Cup.

But given how early people in North America had to wake up to watch the royal wedding and the fact that most probably had access to a television at home, Friday’s web stream numbers are very significant, said Akamai spokeswoman Suzanne Johnson.

Viewers in the East Coast had to get up at 6 a.m. to catch the wedding, or 3 a.m. out West. And it was a holiday in the U.K., making it easy for viewers there to catch the 11 a.m. TV broadcast at home.

“We weren’t sure — given that people had access to their televisions — whether they were going to tune into the live streams but it’s definitely been proved that yes they did,” Johnson said, adding that the appeal of social media and taking part in running commentary likely pushed people to their computers.

Akamai has been keeping track of traffic surges since 2005 and says the record for concurrent page views is nearly double what was registered during the royal wedding.

The afternoon of June 24, 2010 still holds the record with 10,357,646 page views a minute.

But that busy web day had several high-profile sports events occurring simultaneously, including World Cup qualifying games and a record-setting Wimbledon match.

“Sports are unique in that people are inclined to find out what’s going on and they’ll quickly all check at the same time,” Johnson explained, and noted that traffic was sustained during the royal wedding.

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