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Royal wedding breaks Internet records

April 29, 2011 at 2:02 PM ET

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In the U.S., Facebook was all about the wedding, according to the number of mentions posted in the past 24 hours, as of 4:29 a.m. ET Friday.

The live streaming of Will and Kate's nuptials had 1.6 million concurrent video views, making it the biggest event to be watched on the Web, exceeding last summer's World Cup, according to Akamai.

"I can tell you the World Cup (last June) was around 1.6 million concurrent views as well, but the royal wedding has edged that out just a little bit more," said Jeff Young, spokesman for Akamai, which provides streaming-media services for more than 300 news websites, including msnbc.com, as well as other companies.

The wedding, streamed by YouTube and other sites, also surpassed "other major video events, like Michael Jackson's funeral and the inauguration of President Obama," Young said.

It's yet another sign that the Internet has "become a broadcast medium," he said. Obama's inauguration in January 2009 and Michael Jackson's funeral in June 2009 were "both really large events, but as time goes on and technology improves, you’re finding more people consuming more video on more devices," such as smartphones and tablets, Young said.

"Over those two years, there’s been an influx of connected devices, tablets, mobile phones."

The Associated Press said another company, Livestream, which partnered with the AP, UK Press Association, CBS and Entertainment Tonight for its live stream, "said it surpassed its own record with, at one point, more than 300,000 concurrent live streams."

In terms of Internet traffic for news, the wedding ranked 6th, behind the U.S. mid-term elections last fall, based on page views, Young said. At one point during the wedding, Akamai reported a peak of 5 million-plus page views each minute.

"At about 6 a.m. Eastern time, there was a sharp increase in traffic, and it peaks at about 9:30 a.m., with more than 5 million page views per minute," said Young.

Unlike the 2010 World Cup, which showed Internet traffic peaks in the last moments of the event, the royal wedding — with its hours of walk-up to the ceremony, the wedding, and the post-nuptials — kept Web viewers' interest longer.

"The World Cup was a pretty narrow peak because people were tuning in the final seconds of the game, and once they saw the scores, they tuned out," Young said. "The coverage of the royal wedding this morning has been much more sustained; it looks more like a mountain and less than a spike."

While there were no major Internet outages reported, the BBC, which broadcast the event online, said the "sheer weight of traffic" caused its website to be "slower than normal in some cases."

Yahoo reported that it was "breaking records in terms of traffic and video consumption."

The royal wedding set an "all-time record traffic for a live video event on Yahoo," eclipsing the previous record, held by Michael Jackson's funeral, by 21 percent, a Yahoo spokesman said. "This is especially impressive given that this event happened during non-peak hours."

"Requests per second have surpassed previous records set by the Japan earthquake, 40,000 per second at today’s peak, compared to 33,000 per second," said a Yahoo spokesman, and that Yahoo's top two stories — "the dress" and "the kiss" — "have already driven more than 6 million clicks combined." 

Meanwhile, on Twitter, the top 10 trending topic words Friday morning were all related to Wills and Kate's Big Day. Those words included: "casamentoreal" (Portuguese for "royal wedding") and "abadia" (Spanish for "abbey," a reference to Westminster Abbey, where the couple were married).

And Facebook, enormously popular in both the U.S. and the U.K., was buzzing over the Brits' happy day: "the royal wedding"  "Princess Diana" "Kate's dress" and "God save the queen" were trending on the social networking site.

Worldwide, more than 6.8 million people "commented on the royal wedding through public status updates on Facebook in the past 24 hours," and "more than 9.4 million "comments through status updates in the past week," said a spokeswoman for Facebook.

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