With less than 24 hours to go before Prince William and Catherine Middleton marry in Westminster Abbey, the world is literally abuzz. With an expected television viewership of two billion – the largest in the history of television – and a live streaming and radio audience of a further 400 million, the wedding of Wills and Kate has been described by the Wall Street Journal as the “ultimate reality show”.
When his parents, Prince Charles and Princess Diana, got married in 1981, the television audience was a mere 750 million – and broke all records at that time.
This time, a whopping 35 percent of the world’s population will be watching this event. Add to this an estimated 800 000 people thronging the streets of London, tweeting and posting to Facebook, and shooting videos for YouTube, and you have a social networking occasion of epic proportions.
The question isn’t if you are going to watch it; the question is HOW you’re going to watch it. And with whom? Live coverage on the venerable BBC, veteran broadcaster of every British royal occasion ever? Or with our own Andrew Barnes, live from London for e.tv and e.news channel? Or listen to Jenny Crys Williams on 702 if radio is your choice? Perhaps the gossipy style of E! entertainment with the glamorous Giuliana Rancic is more your style? Or maybe YouTube is your choice, streamed from the special Royal Wedding channel. Would you prefer to travel the route with Google Earth, and see the London sights the couple will see en route to Westminster Abbey.
If you haven’t made up your mind, or would prefer to surf all options, here is TheMediaOnline’s guide to watching and interacting with the Royal Wedding, online and on television.
The official royal wedding site is //www.officialroyalwedding2011.org/
Here you’ll find everything you could possibly need to know about the ceremony: The service, the procession, the reception, the background, the invitation. The invitation to join the royal channel on YouTube to watch the wedding live [//www.youtube.com/theroyalchannel]. What floral displays will be created. How to donate to a charitable gift fund website. And of course, of key interest to guests, the seating plan.
The @clarencehouse Twitter feed, with #rw2011 or the #royalwedding, hashtags keeps visitors updated on the latest news from the official residence of the Princes William and Harry.
It also contains the latest media briefings, fascinating in themselves. A more comprehensive communications and briefing document you couldn’t hope to find. //www.officialroyalwedding2011.org/blog/2011/April/23/Latest-Royal-Wedding-media-briefing-download-now-available
Back home, South African portal Howzit MSN has launched a Royal Wedding special content channel, sponsored by local sparkling wine brand Pongrácz. It has already received almost 1.5 million page views.
An addition to the site is the video channel //entertainment.za.msn.com/royal-wedding/video.aspx and a team of editors in the UK who will provide blanket coverage in the lead-up to the event as well as on the day.
Howzit MSN has also unveiled the Royal Wedding Mosaic, an exciting technical development that allows readers to upload their own images and become part of the event. The feature includes a dedicated site and can be viewed at //entertainment.za.msn.com/royal-wedding/kate-william-mosaic.aspx
Back in Britain, the Monarchy now has a Facebook page. Whereas the official site is just that: reams of useful information, the British Monarchy’s Facebook site allows the public to interact with the wedding. On the //www.facebook.com/TheBritishMonarchy page, the page’s community can post their own royal wedding stories. How they intend to spend the day, what they’re cooking and wearing. Guests visiting the page can also leave wedding wishes for the couple. There are messages from people from all over the world, from Iran and Brazil, to Lahore in Pakistan to Bangalore. [//www.facebook.com/TheBritishMonarchy?sk=app_176520635729525]
No guesses as to what Friday’s trending Twitter topic will be! Hundreds of thousands – if not millions – of people will be tweeting about the event. The //twitter.com/#!/royalwedding is a “Countdown to the most anticipated wedding in decades with a royal roundup of all the latest details, discussion and debate about the nuptials of Will and Kate”.
Then there’s Katie Nicholl (@katienicholl), the royal correspondent for The Mail on Sunday, author of The Making of a Royal Romance. Regular on CNN, ABC, ET and BBC so she knows her stuff.
ABC’s Nick Watt describes himself as an “ABC News chap. These days knee-deep in all things Royal Wedding. But I like other stuff too.” Follow him on @nickwattabc.
Searches to watch would be #royalwedding, or #rw2011.
The YouTube Royal Wedding Channel [//www.youtube.com/theroyalchannel] is thriving already with 268 videos ranging from the preparations of the Chapel Royal Choir to clips from the wedding of Charles and Diana.
For a fascinating slice of history and a wonderfully inspiring talk about marriage, the Archbishop of Canterbury stars in a short film produced by Lambeth Palace. He talks about the sense of hopefulness and generosity which lie at the heart of marriage, and what this also tells us about the ‘mystery’ and ‘delight’ which can be found in this life-time commitment. Dr Williams, who will be conducting the marriage ceremony at Westminster Abbey on Friday 29th, also describes the sense of privilege he feels about his own role in the royal wedding. Watch him on //www.youtube.com/watch?v=-8msHZ8wI7Y
But undoubtedly the most popular video is not a royal production. Rather, it’s a spoof video by T-Mobile that has well over 12 million hits. //www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kav0FEhtLug&feature=related
Then you can follow the route the couple take via Google Earth. News from The Press Association is that you too can see the couple’s route to the Abbey through a virtual 3D service via Google Earth, with the benefit of “flying” above it all
While two billion people will be watching the wedding on television, over 400 000 will watch live streaming on their computers. By clicking through to //www.livestream.com/royalweddinglive, viewers can choose to watch a the major global networks’ coverage. These include:
AP Live -AP Live from the Royal Wedding. 5am ET / 9am GMT
Tune in to AP Live for live coverage of the Royal Wedding – from the ceremony inside Westminster Abbey to the crowds of well-wishers along the way, to the much anticipated balcony kiss at Buckingham Palace, AP Live captures all the excitement.
Experience the excitement of the royal wedding, pre-nuptial frenzy, the procession, the ceremony and the after-party madness live from London! Click back daily as you never know who our adventurous Nicole Dabeau will bump into across the pond between now and April 29th.
CBS News – CBS News from the Royal Wedding. 5am ET / 9am GMT. CBSNew.com takes you to London for Prince William’s wedding to Kate Middleton. See the wedding pictures! Watch the video! And get round-the-clock news! Tune in for live anchored coverage from 5a et- 12pmET on Friday Apr. 29th.
UK Press Association – UK Press Association Live from the Royal Wedding. Join the Press Association as they capture key moments from the Royal Wedding in addition to live shots of all the excitement in London
Of course television stations will win the lion’s share of the global audience and just whose style of coverage appeals the most is a personal choice. The BBC, a veteran of covering royal events, has a “live and uninterrupted” broadcast on BBC Knowledge and BBC World News on the morning of the April 29, a direct simulcast of BBC ONE’s coverage – BBC ONE is the BBC’s flagship channel in the UK.
All the information is available from cable network, DStv, on //www.dstv.com/Pages/News/2250/The-Royal-Wedding-Coverage
If you prefer your commentary with a local flavour, then e.tv’s Andrew Barnes is live from London for the channel. The broadcast on e.tv starts at 11h00 and runs to 14h00 and will include the journey to historical Westminster Abbey, the glamorous wedding ceremony and all the multiple wedding celebrations and festivals. Barne’s NewsdaySA Twitter feed is //twitter.com/#!/NewsdaySA
For a post-wedding post mortem, don’t miss the special edition of The Fashion Police on E! in which Joan Rivers and her crew of sharp-tongued cronies dissect who wore what and how they wore it. hosts Joan Rivers, Kelly Osbourne and George Kotsiopoulos with Giuliana Rancic from London.
“During the wedding of the century, all eyes will be on Royal Couple William and Kate, but after the “I do’s” have been said and the Landau carriage has departed for Buckingham Palace, the real fun begins for Joan Rivers and E!’s Fashion Police. With celebrities and heads of state from around the world in attendance at Britain’s biggest party in decades, the fashion “dos” — and especially the fashion “don’ts” — are bound to set tongues wagging. The gloves are sure to come off as these arbiters discuss every detail of what is sure to be the world’s most talked-about wedding gown, as well as what the couple’s famous guests wore to the “wedding to end all weddings.”
Check it out on: //j-entonline.com/tag/fashion-police-royal-wedding/
Finally, British media are reporting that one in three people have downloaded smartphone apps related to the royal wedding.
The Royal Wedding Album, from an outfit called The Royal Wedding Album. It’s free. Invites downloaders to focus on their participation in and enjoyment of The Wedding, instead of The Wedding itself.
The Royal Wedding, from ITN, the UK-based news and multimedia content company. It’s free.
Royal Wedding Insider, from BBC Worldwide. Free. It doesn’t get much more “official” than this. The app promises “insider access” to breaking BBC news, exclusive video, wedding tips from Brides magazine, etc.
And finally, for all the official photographs, Flickr has it all.
Want to continue this conversation on The Media Online platforms? Comment on Twitter @MediaTMO or on our Facebook page. Send us your suggestions, comments, contributions or tip-offs via e-mail to email@example.com.