List of most-watched television broadcasts
The following content contains the tentative list of the most-watched television broadcasts around the world in selected countries, with the corresponding peak viewership (or ratings share) records, the corresponding year of such broadcast, and the mentioned media research organizations tallying nationwide viewership records. However, the most-watched television broadcast in any of the following nations can also be broadcast simultaneously in other countries and rank among their most-watched television broadcasts as well.
This section may rely excessively on sources too closely associated with the subject, potentially preventing the article from being verifiable and neutral. (August 2018) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
On July 20, 1969, an estimated 650 million people watched the live global broadcast of the Apollo 11 moonlanding (this constituted around one fifth of total population of the world at the time), despite the fact that the first moonwalk took place in the middle of the night in Europe (at 01:56 in Iceland; 02:56 in Ireland, Portugal and the United Kingdom; 03:56 in Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, San Marino, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and Yugoslavia and 04:56 in Finland, Greece and Turkey) and it was not broadcast in the Eastern Bloc (except in Romania (04:56) and Poland) (03:56).
The boxer Muhammad Ali drew record global television audiences during the 1970s to early 1980s. Estimates of Ali's worldwide television audiences for his "Rumble in the Jungle" fight against George Foreman in 1974, "Thrilla in Manila" fight against Joe Frazier in 1975, rematch against Leon Spinks in 1978, and "Last Hurrah" fight against Larry Holmes in 1980, range between 1 billion and 2 billion people. The 1996 Summer Olympics opening ceremony, where Muhammad Ali lit the torch, was watched by an estimated 3.5 billion viewers. The funeral of Diana, Princess of Wales in 1997 was watched by an estimated 2 billion people globally, making it the all-time most-watched royal event on live television in the world.
The original Live Aid was a dual-venue benefit concert held on 13 July 1985. It became an ongoing music-based fundraising initiative. The original event was organised by Bob Geldof and Midge Ure to raise funds for relief of the ongoing Ethiopian famine. Billed as the "global jukebox", the event was held simultaneously at Wembley Stadium in London, England, United Kingdom (attended by 72,000 people) and John F. Kennedy Stadium in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States (attended by about 100,000 people). Many similar events happened the same day in other countries, such as the Soviet Union, Canada, Japan, Yugoslavia, Austria, Australia and West Germany. It was one of the largest-scale television events of all time, watched across 150 nations, with an estimated global audience of 1.9 billion who watched the live broadcast.
In 1990, Roger Waters played a concert in Berlin known as The Wall – Live in Berlin to commemorate the fall of the Berlin Wall. The concert was subject to a live audience of 450,000 and was broadcast to 35 countries, with an estimated broadcasting audience of 500 million to 1 billion people.
Prominent personalities in the 1990s and 2000s such as David Hasselhoff and Mexico's Thalia (currently based in the U.S.) starred in primetime series such as the Las Tres Marias trilogy shows (Maria Mercedes, Marimar and Maria la del Barrio), Rosalinda and Baywatch, which were broadcast in about 180 countries and still remained among the world's most-watched non-U.S.-produced television series.
U.S. television programming remains one of the most popular forms of entertainment worldwide. This trend was initiated by U.S.-made broadcast network soap operas and sitcoms such as Dallas, M*A*S*H, The Cosby Show, Seinfeld, Friends and The Big Bang Theory by the mid-2000s, and then in the late 2000s and 2010s by U.S. medical dramas and police procedurals such as House, and the CSI and NCIS franchises. All of these are currently syndicated in more than 100 countries, and rank among the most-watched television series in the world, extending their dominance to a three-decade span.
In recent decades, the global popularity of U.S. television is rivaled by European television programming and television dramas from Latin America and Asia. The annual Eurovision Song Contest, considered to be one of the world's longest running and most-watched reality television franchises, annually attracts a peak of 600 million viewers. Eurovision has consistently ranked among the all-time most-watched live non-sports entertainment telecasts worldwide in the last 2 decades. Idols, airing since 2001, has the largest collective global franchise viewership in the world to date, shown in versions in over 150 countries worldwide and has been watched by over 3.2 billion viewers.
The 2008 Summer Olympics opening ceremony set the record for the largest viewing figure for any sports event, reaching an average daily audience of 593 million worldwide. Over 3.5 billion people saw some part of the 16-day coverage, including the opening and closing ceremonies of the Beijing-hosted Olympic games. The FIFA World Cup has attracted an average of 3.2 billion viewers in 2010 and 2014, making it the most-watched overall live event by average on television worldwide in the 21st century.
In 2010, over 1.1 billion people were reported to have watched the 2010–2011 Sydney New Year's Eve coverage, constituting approximately 16% of the world population at that time and still remains the most-watched New Year's Eve live telecast in the world. As one of the first major New Year's celebrations globally each year, Sydney New Year's Eve annual coverage are live in all time zones in both Asia, Australia and Oceania on 31 December 2010 and 1 January 2011.
Few cable television programs have ranked among the world's most-watched television broadcasts beginning the mid-2010s. In particular, notable scripted series like Game of Thrones, Sherlock and Doctor Who, originating from both the U.S. and UK, have been currently aired to more than 100 countries. The annual Miss Universe and Miss World pageants, headquartered in the U.S. and UK, respectively, and aired live to more than 190 countries yearly, are said to have each regularly attracted more than 500 million viewers and consistently rank among the most-watched live annual entertainment telecasts in the world.
Regional annual sporting events like the Super Bowl in the U.S., and the UEFA Champions League finals in Europe, televised live worldwide, have emerged among the world's most-watched television broadcasts.
The 2015 Cricket World Cup is estimated to have been watched by an estimated 2.2 billion people. The most widely watched match during the tournament was India vs. Pakistan, which is estimated to have drawn over 1 billion viewers.
Most reality television franchise broadcasts and international sporting events (which are aired in several countries) tend to comprise some of the most-watched television programs, as tallied by their media research bases. Beginning the mid-2010s, the majority of the world's most-watched television broadcasts, including all of the world's major international sporting events, are often broadcast live via satellite across virtually all of the world's time zones in seven continents.
|Date(s)||Television broadcast(s)||Estimated audience (millions)||Source(s)||Content|
|6 May 1960||Wedding of Princess Margaret and Lord Snowdon||300||||Royal wedding|
|25 August 1960 to 11 September 1960||Rome 1960 Summer Olympics||400||||Olympic sports|
|22 November 1963||Assassination of John F. Kennedy||600||||Assassination|
|10 October 1964 to 24 October 1964||Tokyo 1964 Summer Olympics||600||||Olympic sports|
|12 October 1968 to 27 October 1968||Mexico 1968 Summer Olympics||600|||
|20 July 1969||Apollo 11||600||||Moon landing|
|26 August 1972 to 10 September 1972||Munich 1972 Summer Olympics||900||||Olympic sports|
|5 September 1972 to 6 September 1972||Munich massacre||900||||Mass shooting|
|30 October 1974||Muhammad Ali vs. George Foreman: The Rumble in the Jungle||1,000||||Professional boxing|
|1 October 1975||Muhammad Ali vs. Joe Frazier III: Thrilla in Manila||1,000|||
|26 June 1976||Muhammad Ali vs. Antonio Inoki||1,400||||Mixed martial arts|
|19 July 1976 to 3 August 1976||Montreal 1976 Summer Olympics||1,500||||Olympic sports|
|27 September 1978||Muhammad Ali vs. Leon Spinks II||2,000||||Professional boxing|
|19 July 1980 to 3 August 1980||Moscow 1980 Summer Olympics||2,000||||Olympic sports|
|2 October 1980||Muhammad Ali vs. Larry Holmes: The Last Hurrah||2,000||||Professional boxing|
|28 July 1984 to 12 August 1984||Los Angeles 1984 Summer Olympics||2,000||||Olympic sports|
|28 July 1988 to 12 August 1988||Seoul 1988 Summer Olympics||2,000|||
|25 July 1992 to 9 August 1992||Barcelona 1992 Summer Olympics||2,000|||
|19 July 1996 to 4 August 1996||Atlanta 1996 Summer Olympics||3,500||||Olympic sports|
|15 September 2000 to 1 October 2000||Sydney 2000 Summer Olympics||3,500|||
|13 August 2004 to 29 August 2004||Athens 2004 Summer Olympics||3,500|||
|8 August 2008 to 24 August 2008||Beijing 2008 Summer Olympics||3,510|||
|27 July 2012 to 12 August 2012||London 2012 Summer Olympics||3,600|||
|5 August 2016 to 21 August 2016||Rio 2016 Summer Olympics||3,600|||
Most-watched broadcasts of all time (Total Viewers)
|1||Funeral of Diana, Princess of Wales||1997||ABC, Seven Network, Nine Network, Ten Network|
|2||Wedding of Charles, Prince of Wales, and Lady Diana Spencer||1981||ABC, Seven Network, Nine Network, Ten Network|
|3||2000 Summer Olympics closing ceremony||2000||Seven Network|
|4||2000 Summer Olympics opening ceremony||2000||Seven Network|
|5||Wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton||2011||ABC, Seven Network, Nine Network, Ten Network|
|6||1984 Summer Olympics opening ceremony||1984||Ten Network|
|7||The World of The Seekers||1968||Ten Network|
|8||Boxing: Lionel Rose v Alan Rudkin||1964||Seven Network|
|9||The Sound of Music||1977||Nine Network|
|10||Roots (miniseries)||1977||Ten Network|
Note: the funeral of Princess Diana, the Wedding of Prince Charles and the Wedding of Prince William were all carried by all 4 major networks and are counted together.
Most viewed broadcasts since 2001 (OzTAM 5 City Metro Average)
The following table is a list of the most viewed programs based on the OzTAM 5 City Metro Average rating system. It does not include regional numbers (40% of the population) and uses the average viewership, not the peak viewership. Also note these ratings are not comparable with ratings before 2001 due to different methodologies used after this time.
|Rank||Show||Number of viewers||Ratings||Year||Network|
|1||2011 British Royal Wedding||6.0 Million||–||2011||ABC, Network 7, Network 9, Network Ten, 7Two|
|2||Wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle||4.09 Million||-||2018||Seven Network, Nine Network, ABC, SBS, BBC UKTV, Sky News Live|
|3||2005 Australian Open – Men's Singles Final||4.043 Million||29.3||2005||Seven Network|
|4||MasterChef Australia (season 2) – finale challenge||4.029 Million||27.1||2010||Network Ten|
|5||2003 Rugby World Cup Final||4.016 Million||29.7||2003||Seven Network|
|6||MasterChef Australia (season 1) – finale challenge||3.726 Million||25.6||2009||Network Ten|
|7||2006 Commonwealth Games opening ceremony||3.561 Million||25.5||2006||Nine Network|
|8||2005 AFL Grand Final (Sydney Swans v West Coast Eagles)||3.386 Million||24.5||2005||Network Ten|
|9||The Block (season 4): Winner Announced||3.370 Million||21.9||2011||Nine Network|
|10||Australian Idol: Final Verdict||3.344 Million||24.5||2003||Network Ten|
|1||Selva de Pedra||Episode 152||4 October 1972||Rede Globo||Telenovela|||
|Roque Santeiro||Episode 209||22 February 1986||Rede Globo||Telenovela|||
|2||Tieta||Episode 193||—||27 March 1990||Rede Globo||Telenovela|||
|3||1998 FIFA World Cup||Brazil vs. Netherlands (semi-final)||—||7 July 1998||Globo, SBT, Manchete, Band||Association football|||
|4||2002 FIFA World Cup||Brazil vs. Turkey (semi-final)||—||26 June 2002||Rede Globo||Association football|||
|5||2002 FIFA World Cup||Germany vs. Brazil (final)||91%||30 June 2002||Rede Globo||Association football|||
|6||América||Episode 203||82%||4 November 2005||Rede Globo||Telenovela|||
The two most-watched television broadcasts in Canadian history occurred during the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. For the gold medal game of the men's hockey tournament at the 2010 Winter Olympics, played between the United States and Canada, confirmed 16.6 million Canadians watched the whole game, roughly one-half of the country's entire population. A groundbreaking 26.5 million Canadians watched some part of the game, over 80 percent of the country's 34-million-person population. According to multiple sources, 13.3 million Canadians watched the games' opening ceremony, which was the previous record.
Many believed the final game of the 1972 Summit Series had up to 18 million viewers, but only 4.3 million TVs tuned in. This statistic does not represent the reality that most school children (representing the tail end of the baby-boom i.e. a large population) nationwide watched the game in gymnasiums on only one or two TVs. 10.3 million people watched the ice hockey gold medal final of the 2002 Winter Olympics.
The CCTV's main evening news broadcast Xinwen Lianbo has a daily audience of around 135 million people, and it is also one of the most expensive shows in the world per advertising spots, with its 2013 advertising slots selling for a record of 5.4 billion yuan.
|Rank||Show||Episode||Number of viewers||Date||Network|
|1||1998 FIFA World Cup||Brazil vs France (final)||23,647,000||12 July 1998||TF1, Canal+|
|2||UEFA Euro 2016||Portugal vs France (final)||22,292,000||10 July 2016||M6, BeIN Sports|
|3||2006 FIFA World Cup||Portugal vs France (semi-final)||22,200,000||5 July 2006||TF1|
|4||2006 FIFA World Cup||Italy vs France (final)||22,143,000||9 July 2006||TF1|
|5||2018 FIFA World Cup||France vs Croatia (final)||20,940,000||15 July 2018||TF1, BeIN Sports|
|6||1998 FIFA World Cup||France vs Croatia (semi-final)||20,597,000||8 July 1998||TF1, Canal+|
|7||UEFA Euro 2016||Germany vs France (semi-final)||20,339,000||7 July 2016||TF1, BeIN Sports|
|8||UEFA Euro 2000||France vs Italy (final)||20,279,000||2 July 2000||TF1|
|9||2018 FIFA World Cup||France vs Belgium (semi-final)||20,178,000||10 July 2018||TF1, BeIN Sports|
|10||2006 FIFA World Cup||Spain vs France (Round of 16)||19,564,000||27 June 2006||TF1|
|11||2006 FIFA World Cup||Togo vs France (group stage)||18,331,000||30 June 2006||TF1|
|12||2007 Rugby World Cup||England vs France (semi-final)||18,307,000||13 October 2007||TF1|
|13||UEFA Euro 2016||France vs Iceland (quarter-final)||18,274,000||3 July 2016||M6, BeIN Sports|
|14||2014 FIFA World Cup||France vs Germany (quarter-final)||18,085,000||4 July 2014||TF1, BeIN Sports|
|15||2006 FIFA World Cup||France vs South Korea (group stage)||18,051,000||18 June 2006||TF1|
|16||2006 FIFA World Cup||Brazil vs France (quarter-final)||17,939,000||1 July 2006||TF1|
|17||2014 FIFA World Cup||Switzerland vs France (group stage)||17,836,000||20 June 2014||TF1, BeIN Sports|
|18||UEFA Euro 2000||France vs Portugal (semi-final)||17,691,000||28 June 2000||France 2|
|19||1990–91 European Cup||Red Star Belgrade vs Marseille (final)||17,500,000||29 May 1991||TF1|
|20||Television show||Le Grand Bluff||17,400,000||26 December 1992||TF1|
|Rank||Show||Episode||Number of viewers||Share||Date||Network|
|1||2014 FIFA World Cup||Germany vs Argentina (final)||34,650,000||86.3%||13 July 2014||Das Erste|
|2||2014 FIFA World Cup||Brazil vs Germany (semi-final)||32,570,000||87.8%||8 July 2014||ZDF|
|3||2010 FIFA World Cup||Germany vs Spain (semi-final)||31,100,000 1, 4||83.2%||7 July 2010||Das Erste|
|4||UEFA Euro 2016||Germany vs France (semi-final)||29,820,000||80.6%||7 July 2016||ZDF|
|5||2006 FIFA World Cup||Germany vs Italy (semi-final)||29,660,000 1, 2, 3||84.1%||4 July 2006||ZDF|
|6||UEFA Euro 2008||Germany vs Turkey (semi-final)||29,460,000||81.6%||25 June 2008||ZDF|
|7||2010 FIFA World Cup||Ghana vs. Germany (group game)||29,190,000 1, 4||79.7%||23 June 2010||Das Erste|
|8||1990 FIFA World Cup||West Germany vs Argentina (final)||28,660,000||87.9%||9 July 1990||Das Erste|
|9||UEFA Euro 1996||Germany vs Czech Republic (final)||28,440,000||76.3%||30 June 1996||ZDF|
|10||UEFA Euro 2016||Germany vs Italy (quarter-final)||28,320,000||79.8%||2 July 2016||Das Erste|
|11||2014 FIFA World Cup||Germany vs Algeria (Round of 16)||28,210,000||85.1%||30 June 2014||ZDF|
|12||UEFA Euro 2016||Germany vs Slovakia (Round of 16)||28,110,000||81.2%||26 June 2014||ZDF|
|13||UEFA Euro 2008||Austria vs Germany (group game)||28,040,000 1, 5||76.9%||16 June 2008||ZDF|
|14||UEFA Euro 2012||Germany vs Italy (semi-final)||27,980,000 6||76.8%||28 June 2012||Das Erste|
|15||The Black Forest Clinic||"Die Schuldfrage" ("The question of guilt")||27,970,000||17 November 1985||ZDF|
|16||2010 FIFA World Cup||Germany vs Australia (group game)||27,910,000 1, 4||74.4%||13 June 2010||Das Erste|
|17||UEFA Euro 2008||Portugal vs Germany (quarter-final)||27,700,000 1, 5||78.7%||19 June 2008||Das Erste|
|18||UEFA Euro 2012||Denmark vs Germany (group game)||27,650,000||74.2%||13 June 2012||ZDF|
|19||UEFA Euro 2016||Germany vs Poland (group game)||27,320,000||73.3%||16 June 2016||ZDF|
|20||2014 FIFA World Cup||USA vs Germany (group game)||27,250,000||84.2%||26 June 2014||ZDF|
Note: The UEFA Euro 2008 final is missing from the list, because the lengthy trophy presentation was included into the official ratings. The game itself was watched by 28.05 million viewers.
India measures the viewership of shows through TRP (Television Rating Point). Shows used to have higher ratings in 2000s as compared to present decade. The present shows that regularly score above or around the 3.5 mark are Kumkum Bhagya, and its spin off Kundali Bhagya along with Yeh Rishta Kya Kehlata Hai. Sometimes these shows touch 4 which is still quite low as compared to highest rated shows of the last decade. Other than that Naagin (2015 TV series) is the only show now that scores above 4.7. All of these shows are produced by the same banner Balaji Telefilms except Yeh Rishta Kya Kehlata Hai. Currently, Bigg Boss 13 has been the most watched Show of 2020, recording an 11.3 TRP for the Final and an average of 8.3 TRP on regular episodes,being the most watched reality show in India. Ironically, 2.5-3.5 TRP was considered an average in the 2000s era of classic serials. The most-watched channel for years has been Star Plus , then Zee TV with major competition from Colors. Mahabharat (1988–1990), the television adaptation of Indian epic Mahabharata, had a share of 97.8% among Indian viewers.
Aamir Khan's talk show Satyamev Jayate (2012–2014) drew an estimated audience of 600 million viewers in India. The 2016 ICC World Twenty20 cricket cup was watched by an estimated 730 million viewers in India, with India vs. Pakistan being the most widely watched live event during the tournament. The Doraemon anime series is India's highest-rated children's television show as of 2017, with a total of 478.5 million viewers across Hungama TV and Disney Channel India.
|1||2016 Indian Premier League Final||44.68||Sony Pictures Networks|
|2||Kasautii Zindagii Kay||35.31||Star Plus|
|3||Bigg Boss 13||22.5 (WKV and Finale)||Colors Tv|
|4||Hum Paanch||13.5||Zee TV|
|5||Koshish Ek Aashaa||11.1||Zee TV|
|7||Des Mein Niklla Hoga Chand||10.0||Star Plus|
|8||Jassi Jaissi Koi Nahin||9.2||Sony TV India|
|9||Yeh Rishta Kya Kehlata Hai||8.4||Star Plus|
|10||Diya Aur Baati Hum||7.7||Star Plus|
|11||Pavitra Rishta||7.3||Zee TV|
|12||Saath Nibhaana Saathiya||7.2||STAR PLUS|
|13||Naagin (2015 TV series)||6.1||Colors TV|
Most viewed broadcasts
A list of most-watched shows in the Republic of Ireland in the 21st century was released in January 2015. The Late Late Toy Show held the top six spots, with the 2014 edition drawing 1,593,000 viewers: over one-third of the country's population. Other high-performing shows were Who Wants to be a Millionaire?, crime drama Love/Hate, Mrs. Brown's Boys, The Sunday Game, UEFA Euro 2012 and the Eurovision Song Contest.
The following list is for Japanese anime only. The list covers broadcasts after 26 September 1977. Video Research had previously recorded an episode of the 1960s Astro Boy anime that earned a 40.3% rating.
|1||Chibi Maruko-chan||39.9%||28 October 1990||Fuji TV|
|2||Sazae-san||39.4%||16 September 1979||Fuji TV|
|3||Dr. Slump||36.9%||16 December 1981||Fuji TV|
|4||Dokonjō Gaeru||34.5%||23 February 1979||NTV|
|5||Japanese Folklore Tales 2||33.6%||10 January 1981||TBS|
|6||Lupin the Third||32.5%||8 December 1978||NTV|
|7||Touch||31.9%||22 December 1985||Fuji TV|
|8||Ashita no Joe||31.6%||13 March 1980||NTV|
|9||Doraemon||31.2%||11 February 1983||TV Asahi|
|10||GeGeGe no Kitarō||29.6%||22 March 1986||Fuji TV|
A list of most-watched shows in the Mexico, Televisa and TV Azteca broadcasters (Liga MX Apertura and Clausura), Boxing, 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City, (FIFA World Cup hosts 1970 & 1986), some concerts like Maná's Unidos por La Paz at Estadio Azteca in March, 2001; in 2007, the last episode of La Fea Más Bella", Funeral events like Chespirito at December, 2014 the creator of TV Series El Chavo del ocho and El Chapulin Colorado, and Celebration of Mexican political anniversaries in 2010 celebrate independence from Spain also called Bicentenario 2010, had an average audience of over 40 million views in Mexican Television.
In 2011, the television website Throng published a list of the 12 most-watched television broadcasts in New Zealand from 1995 to 2011. This is based on average viewership of the program, but it does not include broadcasts from before 1995 or after 2011.
The Rugby World Cup has frequently had large audiences – the Rugby World Cup 2011 final, and a semi-final, both had an average audience of over 2 million.
|01||2011 Rugby World Cup Final (NZ v France)||2,036,900||23 October 2011||TV 1, TV 3, Prime, Sky Sports, Maori TV|
|02||2011 Rugby World Cup Semi-final (NZ v Australia)||2,024,000||16 October 2011||TV 1, TV 3, Prime, Sky Sports, Maori TV|
|03||2011 Rugby World Cup Opening Game (NZ v Tonga)||1,930,000||9 September 2011||TV 1, Prime, Sky Sports, Maori TV|
|04||Boxing: Lennox Lewis vs. David Tua World Title Defence||1,841,230||12 November 2000||TV 3|
|05||One News special – Death of Diana, Princess of Wales||1,703,310||31 August 1997||TV 1|
|06||2000 Summer Olympics opening ceremony||1,654,310||15 September 2000||TV 1|
|07||One News special – Funeral of Diana, Princess of Wales||1,649,710||6 September 1997||TV 1|
|08||2011 Rugby World Cup Qtr Final (NZ v Argentina)||1,624,400||9 October 2011||TV 1, TV 3, Prime, Sky Sports, Maori TV|
|09||2003 Rugby World Cup Final (England v Australia)||1,604,800||22 November 2003||TV 1|
|10||Martin Bashir's interview with Diana, Princess of Wales||1,516,780||21 November 1995||TV 2|
|11||2011 Rugby World Cup Opening Ceremony||1,499,160||9 September 2011||TV 1|
|12||2007 Rugby World Cup (NZ v France)||1,410,410||7 October 2007||TV 3|
The following table shows the all-time highest rating television shows in Mega Manila as tallied by AGB Nielsen since 1992. However, ratings are from a single highest recorded episode of the show (in the case of the TV series) and it is not the average over-all ratings for the whole season or series.
|1||ABS-CBN||Manny Pacquiao vs. Erik Morales||2005||83.5%|
|4||ABS-CBN||Pangako Sa 'Yo||2002||64.9%|
|6||ABS-CBN||Miss Universe 1994||1994||62.5%|
|9||RPN||Miss Universe 1999||1999||58.4%|
|11||ABS-CBN||Maalaala Mo Kaya||1992||57.3%|
|16||ABS-CBN||Magandang Gabi, Bayan||2000||55.0%|
|18||ABS-CBN||Manny Pacquiao vs. Oscar Larios||2006||54.4%|
|20||ABS-CBN||Mula Sa Puso||1997||53.7%|
|Rank||Program||Date||Channel||Number of viewers||Share|
|1||Funeral of Pope John Paul II||8 April 2005||TVP1, TVP2, TVP3, Polsat, TVN, TVN24 and others||Over 21,400,000||Almost 90%|
|2||UEFA Euro 2016: Poland vs Portugal (quarter-final)||30 June 2016||TVP1, Polsat, Polsat Sport||15,974,822||86.57%|
|3||UEFA Euro 2012: Poland vs Russia (group stage)||12 June 2012||TVP1, TVP Sport, TVP HD||14,683,216||81.51%|
|4||UEFA Euro 2016: Germany vs Poland (group stage)||16 June 2016||TVP1, Polsat, Polsat Sport||14,352,012||80.89%|
|5||UEFA Euro 2012: Czech Republic vs Poland (group stage)||16 June 2012||TVP1, TVP Sport, TVP HD||14,070,492||81.28%|
|6||FIFA World Cup 2018: Poland vs Colombia (group stage)||24 June 2018||TVP1, TVP Sport||13,631,335||75.45%|
|7||UEFA Euro 2012: Poland vs Greece (group stage)||8 June 2012||TVP1, TVP Sport, TVP HD||13,308,343||83.78%|
|8||2002 Winter Olympics: Ski Jumping Men's K120 Individual
(Adam Małysz's silver medal)
|13 February 2002||TVP1||13,259,612||75.15%|
|9||Funeral of President Lech Kaczyński and First Lady Maria Kaczyńska||18 April 2010||TVP1, TVP2, TVP Info, Polsat, Polsat News, TVN, TVN 24 and others||13,033,967||86.68%|
|10||UEFA Euro 2016: Ukraine vs Poland (group stage)||21 June 2016||TVP1, Polsat, Polsat Sport||12,639,308||81.67%|
|1||UEFA Euro 2004||Portugal vs The Netherlands (semi-final)||40.1||85.4%||30 June 2004||RTP1|
|2||UEFA Euro 2012||Portugal vs Spain (semi-final)||39.5||76.0%||27 June 2012||SIC|
|3||UEFA Euro 2004||Portugal vs England (quarter-final)||39.0||85.1%||24 June 2004||RTP1|
|4||UEFA Euro 2016||Portugal vs Wales (semi-final)||38.4||75.4%||6 July 2016||RTP1|
|5||UEFA Euro 2016||Portugal vs France (final)||38.2||78.1%||10 July 2016||RTP1|
|6||UEFA Euro 2012||Portugal vs The Netherlands (group stage match)||38.1||73.4%||17 June 2012||TVI|
|7||2014 FIFA World Cup||United States vs Portugal (group stage match)||37.8||75.4%||22 June 2014||RTP1|
|8||UEFA Euro 2004||Portugal vs Greece (final)||37.7||89.7%||4 July 2004||RTP1|
|9||UEFA Euro 2016||Poland vs Portugal (quarter-final)||37.4||69.9%||30 June 2016||RTP1|
|10||2006 FIFA World Cup||Portugal vs France (semi-final)||37.2||82.3%||5 July 2006||SIC|
|11||A Próxima Vítima||The Last Episode||37.1||80.2%||19 January 1996||SIC|
|12||UEFA Euro 2012||Czech Republic vs Portugal (quarter-final)||36.1||71.7%||21 June 2012||RTP1|
|13||UEFA Euro 2004||Russia vs Portugal (group stage match)||35.5||81.4%||16 June 2004||SIC|
|14||UEFA Euro 2016||Portugal vs Iceland (group stage match)||35.1||68.6%||14 June 2016||RTP1|
|15||UEFA Euro 2004||Spain vs Portugal (group stage match)||34.9||83.2%||20 June 2004||TVI|
|16||2006 FIFA World Cup||Portugal vs The Netherlands (round of 16)||34.9||80.7%||25 June 2006||SIC|
|17||UEFA Euro 2008||Portugal vs Germany (quarter-finals)||34.5||75.6%||19 June 2008||TVI|
|18||2015 Portuguese legislative election||Debate: António Costa vs. Pedro Passos Coelho||34.1||66%||10 September 2015||RTP1, SIC, TVI|
|19||2014 FIFA World Cup qualification||Sweden vs Portugal (second leg playoff match)||34.1||62.2%||19 November 2013||RTP1|
|20||UEFA Europa League||SL Benfica vs Chelsea FC (final)||33.8||62.3%||16 May 2013||SIC|
|21||UEFA Euro 2000||France vs Portugal (Semi-finals)||33.2||76.7%||28 June 2000||RTP1|
|22||2006 FIFA World Cup||Angola vs Portugal (group stage match)||32.8||80.9%||11 June 2006||SIC|
|23||2018 FIFA World Cup||Iran vs Portugal (group stage match)||32.4||71.6%||25 June 2018||RTP1|
|24||UEFA Euro 2012||Germany vs Portugal (group stage match)||32.4||68.3%||9 June 2012||RTP1|
|25||O Rei do Gado||Brazilian telenovela||32.2||67.5%||January 1997||SIC|
|26||UEFA Champions League||Monaco vs Porto (final)||31.7||70.5%||26 May 2004||RTP1|
|27||UEFA Euro 2016||Croatia vs Portugal (Round of 16)||31.3||70%||26 June 2016||RTP1|
|28||UEFA Europa League||Sevilla FC vs SL Benfica (final)||31.1||61.4%||14 May 2014||SIC|
|29||UEFA Champions League||Real Madrid vs Atlético Madrid (final)||30.8||64.3%||24 May 2014||TVI|
|30||Terra Nostra||Brazilian telenovela||30.8||64%||11 January 2000||SIC|
|31||2006 FIFA World Cup||Portugal vs Iran||30.4||83.1%||17 June 2006||SIC|
|32||UEFA Europa League||Juventus FC vs SL Benfica (semi-final)||30.4||58.9%||1 May 2014||SIC|
|33||Big Brother Portugal||Live eviction show||30.2||72.5%||26 December 2000||TVI|
|34||2018 FIFA World Cup||Uruguay vs Portugal (round of 16)||30.1||70.1%||30 June 2018||RTP1|
|35||2018 FIFA World Cup||Portugal vs Spain (group stage match)||30.1||69.1%||15 June 2018||RTP1|
|36||UEFA Cup||Sporting CP vs CSKA Moscow (Final)||30.1||68.4%||18 May 2005||RTP1|
|37||Taça de Portugal||SL Benfica vs Sporting CP (Sixth round)||29.9||62.6%||26 January 2005||RTP1|
|38||Torre de Babel||Brazilian telenovela||29.8||77.1%||2 April 1999||SIC|
|39||UEFA Euro 2008||Switzerland vs Portugal||29.8||71.8%||15 June 2008||TVI|
|40||UEFA Cup||Celtic FC vs FC Porto||29.7||67.5%||21 May 2003||RTP1|
|41||2006 FIFA World Cup||Germany vs Portugal (third place play-off)||29.6||78.4%||8 July 2006||SIC|
|42||UEFA Champions League||Barcelona vs Benfica (quarter-finals)||29.3||65.4%||5 April 2006||RTP1|
|43||2006 FIFA World Cup||England vs Portugal (quarter-finals)||29.2||88.1%||1 July 2006||SIC|
|44||2010 FIFA World Cup||Spain vs Portugal (Round of 16)||29.1||75.9%||29 June 2010||RTP1|
|45||Juntos Por Todos||Benefit concert||28.8||67.8%||27 June 2017||RTP1, SIC, TVI|
|46||Médico de Família||Portuguese TV series||27.9||61.4%||16 March 1999||SIC|
Viewership ratings are provided by two companies in South Korea, AGB Nielsen Media Research and TNmS. Originally Media Service Korea was the only company providing such information, and it was later acquired by Nielsen Media Research. In 1999 TNS Media Korea also began such service, and later changed its name to TNmS. AGB collects viewership data based on 2050 households, while TNmS has 2000 households with measuring devices. Drama ratings usually vary between the two companies by 2–3%.
|1.||First Love||KBS2||65.8%||20 April 1997|
|2.||What is Love||MBC||64.9%||24 May 1992|
|3.||Sandglass||SBS||64.5%||6 February 1995|
|4.||Hur Jun||MBC||63.7%||27 June 2000|
|5.||Sunny Place of Youth||KBS2||62.7%||12 November 1995|
|6.||You and I||MBC||62.4%||12 April 1998|
|7.||The Son and the Daughter||MBC||61.1%||21 March 1993|
|8.||Taejo Wang Geon||KBS1||60.2%||20 May 2001|
|9.||Eyes of Dawn||MBC||58.4%||6 February 1992|
|10.||Dae Jang Geum||MBC||57.8%||23 March 2004|
|11.||Lovers in Paris||SBS||57.6%||15 August 2004|
|12.||See and See Again||MBC||57.3%||12 October 1998|
|13.||Truth||MBC||56.5%||24 February 2000|
|14.||Jealousy||MBC||56.1%||21 July 1992|
|15.||Even When the Wind Blows||KBS1||55.8%||26 February 1996|
|16.||Bathhouse Men||KBS2||53.4%||25 August 1996|
|17.||Gook Hee (tie)||MBC||53.1%||16 November 1999|
|17.||Trap of Youth (tie)||SBS||53.1%||15 April 1999|
|19.||Tomato||SBS||52.7%||3 June 1999|
|20.||M||MBC||52.2%||30 August 1994|
Statistics from Mediamätning Skandinavien.
Most-watched programmes per year
|Year||Programme||Date||Number of viewers (millions)||Network|
|2000||Melodifestivalen 2000||10 March||4.175||SVT2|
|2001||Melodifestivalen 2001||23 February||3.84||SVT1|
|2002||Melodifestivalen 2002||1 March||3.72||SVT1|
|2003||Melodifestivalen 2003||15 March||3.815||SVT1|
|2004||Melodifestivalen 2004||20 March||4.105||SVT1|
|2005||Melodifestivalen 2005||12 March||4.055||SVT1|
|2006||Melodifestivalen 2006||18 March||4.240||SVT1|
|2007||Melodifestivalen 2007||10 March||3.975||SVT1|
|2008||Melodifestivalen 2008||15 March||4.045||SVT1|
|2009||Melodifestivalen 2009||14 March||3.59||SVT1|
|2010||Melodifestivalen 2010||13 March||3.87||SVT1|
|2011||Melodifestivalen 2011||12 March||3.67||SVT1|
|2012||Melodifestivalen 2012||10 March||4.11||SVT1|
|2013||Melodifestivalen 2013||9 March||4.15||SVT1|
|2014||Kalle Anka och hans vänner önskar god jul||24 December||3.705||SVT1|
|2015||Melodifestivalen 2015||14 March||3.771||SVT1|
Most-watched sport events per year
Most-watched special events
The majority of special events attracting large audiences are often carried on more than one channel. The most-watched programme of all time on a single channel is the 1973 wedding ceremony of The Princess Anne, shown only on BBC1. The figures in these tables represent the average viewership achieved by each broadcast during its run-time and do not include peak viewership.
- Post-1981 figures verified by the Broadcasters' Audience Research Board (BARB)
- Pre-1981 figures supplied by the British Film Institute (BFI)
|1||1966 FIFA World Cup Final: England v West Germany||32.30||30 July 1966||BBC One/ITV|
|2||Funeral of Diana, Princess of Wales||32.10||6 September 1997||BBC One/ITV|
|3||Royal Family (documentary)||30.69||21 June 1969 and 28 June 1969||BBC One/ITV|
|4||Apollo 13 Splashdown||28.60||17 April 1970||BBC One/ITV|
|5||1970 FA Cup Final replay||28.49||29 April 1970||BBC One/ITV|
|6||Wedding of Charles, Prince of Wales, and Lady Diana Spencer||28.40||29 July 1981||BBC One/ITV|
|7||Wedding of Princess Anne and Mark Phillips||27.60||14 November 1973||BBC One|
|8||Prime Minister Boris Johnson's statement on COVID-19||27.1||23 March 2020||BBC One/ITV/Channel 4/Sky News/BBC News|
|9||2012 Summer Olympics closing ceremony||24.46||12 August 2012||BBC One|
|10||2012 Summer Olympics opening ceremony||24.24||27 July 2012||BBC One|
- The Wedding of Princess Margaret and Lord Snowdon (6 May 1960) was watched by an estimated 25 million viewers in Britain.
- At least two Muhammad Ali boxing matches were reported to have been watched by at least 26 million viewers in the United Kingdom: the Fight of the Century (Ali vs. Frazier) was reported to have been watched by 27.5 million British viewers in 1971, and The Rumble in the Jungle (Ali vs. Foreman) was reported to have been watched by 26 million viewers on BBC One in 1974.
- Live Aid is reported to have reached approximately 24.5 million British viewers in July 1985.
- The Wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton (29 April 2011) received a total audience peak of 26 million viewers, but this is a combined figure aggregated from the ten different channels that broadcast the ceremony. The highest figures of these were 13.59 million on BBC1, with an extra 4.02 million watching on ITV.
The following is a list of most-watched programmes, excluding sporting events and news coverage. The mid-1980s introduction of in-week repeat showings accounts for six of the top ten programmes. On this measure, the 1996 Christmas edition of Only Fools and Horses is the most-watched non-repeated, non-documentary programme of all time in the UK. It is the third most-watched programme of all time on a single channel, after the 2012 Summer Olympics closing ceremony and the wedding of Princess Anne and Mark Phillips in 1973 (see below).
- Post-1981 figures verified by the Broadcasters' Audience Research Board (BARB)
- Pre-1981 figures supplied by the British Film Institute
|Rank||Show||Episode||Number of viewers
|1||EastEnders||Den Watts serves wife Angie with divorce papers.||30.15||25 December 1986*||BBC One|
|2||EastEnders||Michelle Fowler reveals that she is pregnant to Lou Beale.||28.00||1 January 1986*||BBC One|
|3||Coronation Street||Hilda Ogden leaves, having appeared continuously since 1964.||26.65||25 December 1987*||ITV (Granada)|
|4||Only Fools and Horses||"Time on Our Hands"||24.35||29 December 1996||BBC One|
|5||EastEnders||N/A||24.30||2 January 1992*||BBC One|
|6||Royal Variety Performance 1965||Ft. Dame Shirley Bassey, Peter Cook & Dudley Moore CBE and more.||24.20||14 November 1965||ITV (ATV)|
|7||EastEnders||N/A||24.15||7 January 1988*||BBC One|
|8||To the Manor Born||"A Touch of Class" - Series 1 Finale||23.95||11 November 1979||BBC One|
|9||Miss World 1967||Madeline Hartog-Bel (Miss Peru) wins.||23.76||19 November 1967||BBC One|
|10||EastEnders||N/A||23.55||26 December 1985*||BBC One|
|11||Panorama||Diana, Princess of Wales||22.78||20 November 1995||BBC One|
|12||Royal Variety Performance 1975||Bruce Forsyth, Dad's Army & Vera Lynn||22.66||16 November 1975||ITV (ATV)|
|13||This Is Your Life||Lord Mountbatten||22.22||27 April 1977||ITV (Thames)|
|14||Sunday Night at the London Palladium||Variety of celebrities, including Jimmy Tarbuck and Shirley Bassey.||21.89||3 December 1967||ITV (ATV)|
|15||The Benny Hill Show||Cinema: The Vintage Years||21.67||24 March 1971||ITV (Thames)|
|16||Dallas||"Who Done It" – Kristin Shepard is revealed to have shot J.R. Ewing.||21.60||22 November 1980||BBC One|
|Coronation Street||Ken and Deirdre Barlow officially divorce.||21.60||8 January 1992||ITV (Granada)|
|18||Eurovision Song Contest 1973||Anne-Marie David wins for Luxembourg.||21.56||7 April 1973||BBC One|
|19||Steptoe and Son||"The Lodger" – Albert looks for a lodger.||21.54||18 February 1964||BBC TV|
|20||The Mike Yarwood Show||Mike Yarwood Christmas Show||21.40||25 December 1977||BBC One|
|Coronation Street||Bet Lynch becomes landlady of the Rovers Return Inn.||21.40||2 January 1985||ITV (Granada)|
*Denotes aggregated figure with repeat showing.
NBC's live telecast of Super Bowl XLIX in 2015 currently holds the record for the largest average viewership of any live single-network U.S. television broadcast, with 114.4 million viewers. During this broadcast, the halftime show was watched by 118.5 million viewers. The previous live telecast Super Bowl XLV in February 2011 helped Fox become the first ever television network in the United States to be watched by at least 100 million American viewers by average for a single primetime night of programming. Moreover, Super Bowl telecasts account for 23 of the most-watched television broadcasts based on overall viewership in U.S. television history. Fox's live telecast of Super Bowl LI in 2017 currently holds the largest total viewership in U.S. television history, peaking at 172 million viewers in Super Bowl's first ever overtime play.
Additionally, the National Football League (or NFL) regular season is watched since 2012 by at least 200 million individuals in the United States, accounting for the largest consistent annual nationwide viewership for any television event in U.S. television history (representing almost 70% of the American households, more than 80% of the total U.S. television viewers, and more than 60% of the 2018 U.S. population of 325 million individuals).
|Apollo 11 EVA||125–150||July 20, 1969||multiple|
|Super Bowl XLIX||114.4||February 1, 2015||NBC|
|Super Bowl XLVIII||112.2||February 2, 2014||Fox|
|Super Bowl 50||111.9||February 7, 2016||CBS|
|Super Bowl LI||111.3||February 5, 2017||Fox|
|Super Bowl XLVI||111.3||February 5, 2012||NBC|
|Super Bowl XLV||111.0||February 6, 2011||Fox|
|Richard Nixon resignation speech||110||August 9, 1974||multiple|
|Super Bowl XLVII||108.7||February 3, 2013||CBS|
|Super Bowl XLIV||106.5||February 7, 2010||CBS|
|M*A*S*H ("Goodbye, Farewell and Amen")||105.9||February 28, 1983||CBS|
|Super Bowl LII||103.4||February 4, 2018||NBC|
|Super Bowl LIV||100.4||February 2, 2020||Fox|
|Roots ("Part VIII")||100.0||January 30, 1977||ABC|
|Super Bowl XLIII||98.7||February 1, 2009||NBC|
|Super Bowl LIII||98.2||February 3, 2019||CBS|
|Super Bowl XLII||97.4||February 3, 2008||Fox|
|Police pursuit of O.J. Simpson||95||June 17, 1994||multiple|
|Super Bowl XXX||94.1||January 28, 1996||NBC|
|Super Bowl XLI||93.2||February 4, 2007||CBS|
|Super Bowl XX||92.6||January 26, 1986||NBC|
|Super Bowl XXVII||91.0||January 31, 1993||NBC|
|Super Bowl XL||90.7||February 5, 2006||ABC|
|Muhammad Ali vs. Leon Spinks II||90.0||September 15, 1978||ABC|
|Super Bowl XXVIII||90.0||January 30, 1994||NBC|
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Dubbed "the thrilla of Manila, the saga of our lifetime," the last-named fight took place on the fourth anniversary of King's release from prison, September 30, 1975, and was viewed over television by nearly one billion people.
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The biggest of all was Holmes-Ali. The dollar figures and publicity, not to mention the impact on Las Vegas and Caesars Palace itself, stagger the imagination. The event drew a net live gate of $5,766,125 (the largest in the history of boxing), with 25,000 people (the most ever in Nevada) paying $50 to $500 a ticket. Tax revenue to the state was $280,645. Caesar's telephone operators handled 48,000 calls that day, double any other day in hotel history. The estimated world-wide TV audience was a record two billion people, and for the first time in history, a boxing event was televised in Red China.
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The 1998 World Cup drew 3.4 billion viewers
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An estimated three billion viewers watched the 2002 World Soccer Cup matches.
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Viewing figures showed that 2.1 billion people in 160 countries consumed more than 13 billion Television Viewer Hours (TVH).
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Altogether the Moscow Olympics were watched by some 2 billion viewers throughout the world.
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Two billion viewers around the world found new pleasures in a ritual that is more ancient than most religions: men and women from every nation gathering in peace to surpass themselves.
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Badminton's worldwide popularity was proven during the 1992 Olympics, when an estimated 1.1. billion viewers around the globe watched the eight-day inaugural badminton competition on television.
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The TV programs from the 1976 Olympics in Montreal were watched by 1.5 billion viewers and the Moscow Olympics in 1980, according to expert estimates, will have a TV audience of over 2 billion on all five continents.
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Yet this was only five years before the Soviets put Yuri Gagarin into orbit in Sputnik 1 and only 13 before Neil Armstrong and Edwin Aldrin set foot on the Moon, watched by an estimated 600 million viewers on television.
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