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.

Global

History

On 20 July 1969, an estimated 530 million people watched the live global broadcast of the Apollo 11 moonlanding (this constituted around 14% of total population of the world at the time),[1][2] 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[3] (except in Romania (04:56)[4] and Poland) (03:56).[5]

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,[6] "Thrilla in Manila" fight against Joe Frazier in 1975,[7] rematch against Leon Spinks in 1978,[8][9] and "Last Hurrah" fight against Larry Holmes in 1980, range between 1 billion and 2 billion people.[10] The 1996 Summer Olympics opening ceremony, where Muhammad Ali lit the torch, was watched by an estimated 3.5 billion viewers.[11] 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).[12] 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 event of all time, watched across 150 nations, with an estimated global audience of 1.9 billion who watched the live broadcast.[13]

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.[14][15]

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.[16][17] 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.[18]

The 2008 Summer Olympics opening ceremony holds the record for the largest viewing figure for any sports event, reaching an average daily audience of 593 million worldwide.[19] Over 4 billion people saw some part of the 16-day coverage, including the opening and closing ceremonies of the Beijing-hosted Olympic games.[20] The FIFA World Cup[21][19] 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,[22] 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 ranks among the most-watched live annual entertainment telecasts in the world.[23]

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.[24][25]

The 2015 Cricket World Cup is estimated to have been watched by an estimated 2.2 billion people.[26] The most widely watched match during the tournament was India vs. Pakistan, which is estimated to have drawn over 1 billion viewers.[27][28]

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.[29][30]

List

   — Television broadcasts which held the viewership record
List of the most-watched television broadcasts of all time
Date(s)Television broadcast(s)Estimated audience (billions)Source(s)Content
8 August 2008 to 24 August 2008 Beijing 2008 Summer Olympics 4 [20] Olympic sports
27 July 2012 to 12 August 2012 London 2012 Summer Olympics 3.6 [31] Olympic sports
5 August 2016 to 21 August 2016 Rio 2016 Summer Olympics 3.6 [32]
19 July 1996 Atlanta 1996 Summer Olympics opening ceremony 3.5 [11] Opening ceremony
19 July 1996 to 4 August 1996 Atlanta 1996 Summer Olympics 3.5 [33] Olympic sports
15 September 2000 to 1 October 2000 Sydney 2000 Summer Olympics 3.5 [34] Olympic sports
13 August 2004 to 29 August 2004 Athens 2004 Summer Olympics 3.5 [35]
10 June 1998 to 12 July 1998 France 1998 FIFA World Cup 3.4 [36] Association football
2003 to 2009 Idols franchise 3.2 [18] Reality competition
11 June 2010 to 11 July 2010 South Africa 2010 FIFA World Cup 3.2 [37] Association football
12 June 2014 to 13 July 2014 Brazil 2014 FIFA World Cup 3.2 [38]
31 May 2002 to 30 June 2002 2002 FIFA World Cup (Korea & Japan) 3 [39]
9 June 2006 to 9 July 2006 Germany 2006 FIFA World Cup 3 [40]
8 August 2008 Beijing 2008 Summer Olympics opening ceremony 3 [41] Opening ceremony
14 June 2018 to 15 July 2018 Russia 2018 FIFA World Cup 3 [42] Association football
14 February 2015 to 29 March 2015 2015 ICC Cricket World Cup (Australia & New Zealand) 2.2 [26] Cricket
10 February 2006 to 26 February 2006 Torino 2006 Winter Olympics 2.1 [43] Winter sports
12 February 2010 to 28 February 2010 Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics 2.1 [43]
7 February 2014 to 23 February 2014 Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics 2.1 [32]
9 February 2018 to 25 February 2018 PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympics 2.02 [44]
27 September 1978 Muhammad Ali vs. Leon Spinks II 2 [8][9] Professional boxing
19 July 1980 to 3 August 1980 Moscow 1980 Summer Olympics 2 [45] Olympic sports
2 October 1980 Muhammad Ali vs. Larry Holmes: The Last Hurrah 2 [10] Professional boxing
28 July 1984 to 12 August 1984 Los Angeles 1984 Summer Olympics 2 [46] Olympic sports
28 July 1988 to 12 August 1988 Seoul 1988 Summer Olympics 2 [47]
25 July 1992 to 9 August 1992 Barcelona 1992 Summer Olympics 2 [48]
6 September 1997 Funeral of Diana, Princess of Wales 2 [49] Royal funeral
12 July 1998 1998 FIFA World Cup Final: France vs. Brazil 2 [50] Association football
11 September 2001 September 11 Attacks 2 [51] Terrorist attack
8 February 2002 to 24 February 2002 Salt Lake 2002 Winter Olympics 2 [52] Winter sports
30 June 2002 2002 FIFA World Cup Final: Brazil vs. Germany 2 [53] Association football
2 July 2005 Live 8 2 [54] Live concert
7 July 2009 Michael Jackson memorial service 2 [55] Memorial service
13 July 1985 Live Aid 1.9 [13] Live concert
19 July 1976 to 3 August 1976 Montreal 1976 Summer Olympics 1.5 [56] Olympic sports
28 July 1984 Los Angeles 1984 Summer Olympics opening ceremony 1.5 [57] Opening ceremony
26 June 1976 Muhammad Ali vs. Antonio Inoki 1.4 [58][59] Mixed martial arts
25 July 1992 to 9 August 1992 Badminton at the 1992 Summer Olympics 1.1 [60] Badminton
2 September 1989 to 26 February 2001 Baywatch 1.1 [61] Drama series
31 December 2010 to 31 January 2011 Sydney New Year's Eve 2010–2011 1.1 [22] New Year
12 June 2014 to 13 July 2014 2014 FIFA World Cup Final: Argentina vs. Germany 1.013 [38] Association football
30 October 1974 Muhammad Ali vs. George Foreman: The Rumble in the Jungle 1 [6][62] Professional boxing
1 October 1975 Muhammad Ali vs. Joe Frazier III: Thrilla in Manila 1 [63][7]
29 July 1981 Wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer 1 [64] Royal wedding
8 June 1990 to 8 July 1990 1990 FIFA World Cup Italia 1 [65] Association football
21 July 1990 The Wall – Live in Berlin 1 [15] Live concert
2 August 1990 to 28 February 1991 Gulf War 1 [66] Military conflict
17 June 1994 to 17 July 1994 1994 FIFA World Cup USA 1 [67] Association football
30 June 2006 2006 FIFA World Cup Final: France vs. Italy 1 [68]
20 January 2009 First inauguration of Barack Obama 1 [69] Presidential inauguration
11 July 2010 2010 FIFA World Cup Final: Spain vs. Netherlands 1 [37] Association football
19 February 2011 to 2 April 2011 2011 ICC Cricket World Cup Final: India vs. Sri Lanka 1 [70] Cricket
29 April 2011 Wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton 1 [71] Royal wedding
6 May 2012 to 27 May 2012 Satyamev Jayate: Season 1 1 [72] Talk show
15 February 2015 2015 ICC Cricket World Cup: India vs. Pakistan 1 [27] Cricket
9 June 2016 Muhammad Ali memorial service 1 [73] Memorial service
27 June 2016 to 7 July 2016 2016 Wimbledon Championships 1 [74] Tennis
19 May 2018 Wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle 1 [75] Royal wedding
15 July 2018 2018 FIFA World Cup Final: France vs. Croatia 1 [76] Association football

Records

List of television broadcast viewership records
Date(s)Television broadcast(s)Estimated audience (millions)Source(s)Content
6 May 1960 Wedding of Princess Margaret and Lord Snowdon 300 [77] Royal wedding
22 November 1963 Assassination of John F. Kennedy 600 [78] Assassination
12 October 1968 to 27 October 1968 Mexico 1968 Summer Olympics 600 [79] Olympic sports
20 July 1969 Apollo 11 600 [80] Moon landing
26 August 1972 to 10 September 1972 Munich 1972 Summer Olympics 900 [81] Olympic sports
5 September 1972 to 6 September 1972 Munich massacre 900 [81] Terrorist attack
30 October 1974 Muhammad Ali vs. George Foreman: The Rumble in the Jungle 1,000 [6][82] Professional boxing
1 October 1975 Muhammad Ali vs. Joe Frazier III: Thrilla in Manila 1,000 [83][7]
26 June 1976 Muhammad Ali vs. Antonio Inoki 1,400 [84][85] Mixed martial arts
19 July 1976 to 3 August 1976 Montreal 1976 Summer Olympics 1,500 [56] Olympic sports
27 September 1978 Muhammad Ali vs. Leon Spinks II 2,000 [8][9] Professional boxing
19 July 1980 to 3 August 1980 Moscow 1980 Summer Olympics 2,000 [86] Olympic sports
2 October 1980 Muhammad Ali vs. Larry Holmes: The Last Hurrah 2,000 [10] Professional boxing
28 July 1984 to 12 August 1984 Los Angeles 1984 Summer Olympics 2,000 [87] Olympic sports
28 July 1988 to 12 August 1988 Seoul 1988 Summer Olympics 2,000 [47]
25 July 1992 to 9 August 1992 Barcelona 1992 Summer Olympics 2,000 [88]
19 July 1996 Atlanta 1996 Summer Olympics opening ceremony 3,500 [11] Opening ceremony
19 July 1996 to 4 August 1996 Atlanta 1996 Summer Olympics 3,500 [89] Olympic sports
15 September 2000 to 1 October 2000 Sydney 2000 Summer Olympics 3,500 [34]
13 August 2004 to 29 August 2004 Athens 2004 Summer Olympics 3,500 [35]
8 August 2008 to 24 August 2008 Beijing 2008 Summer Olympics 4,000 [20]

National

Australia

Most-watched broadcasts of all time (Total Viewers)

The following is David Dale's approximate ranking of the most-watched television shows of all time in Australia using data from Nielsen Corporation and OzTAM[90]

RankShowDateNetwork
1Funeral of Diana, Princess of Wales1997ABC, Seven Network, Nine Network, Ten Network
2Wedding of Charles, Prince of Wales, and Lady Diana Spencer1981ABC, Seven Network, Nine Network, Ten Network
32000 Summer Olympics closing ceremony2000Seven Network
42000 Summer Olympics opening ceremony2000Seven Network
5Wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton2011ABC, Seven Network, Nine Network, Ten Network
61984 Summer Olympics opening ceremony1984Ten Network
7The World of The Seekers1968Ten Network
8Boxing: Lionel Rose v Alan Rudkin1964Seven Network
9The Sound of Music1977Nine Network
10Roots (miniseries)1977Ten 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 programmes based on the OzTAM 5 City Metro Average rating system.[91][92] 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.

RankShowNumber of viewersRatingsYearNetwork
12011 British Royal Wedding6.0 Million2011ABC, Network 7, Network 9, Network Ten, 7Two[93]
2Wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle4.09 Million-2018Seven Network, Nine Network, ABC, SBS, BBC UKTV, Sky News Live
32005 Australian Open – Men's Singles Final4.043 Million29.32005Seven Network
4MasterChef Australia (season 2) – finale challenge4.029 Million27.12010Network Ten
52003 Rugby World Cup Final4.016 Million29.72003Seven Network
6MasterChef Australia (season 1) – finale challenge3.726 Million25.62009Network Ten
72006 Commonwealth Games opening ceremony3.561 Million25.52006Nine Network
82005 AFL Grand Final (Sydney Swans v West Coast Eagles)3.386 Million24.52005Network Ten
9The Block (season 4): Winner Announced3.370 Million21.92011Nine Network
10Australian Idol: Final Verdict3.344 Million24.52003Network Ten

Brazil

RankShowEpisodeRatingShareDateChannel
1Roque SanteiroEpisode 209
96[94]
100%22 February 1986Rede Globo
2TietaEpisode 105
78
31 March 1990Rede Globo

India

India measures shows through TRP (Television Rating Point). Shows had higher ratings in 2000s versus now. The only show now that scores above just the 3.3 mark is Kumkum Bhagya, and its spin off Kundali Bhagya along with Naagin (TV series) all shows produced by the same banner Balaji Telefilms- ironically 2.5-3.5 TRP was considered an average in the 2000s era of serials. The most-watched channel for years has been Star Plus , then Zee TV with major competition from Colors. Mahabharat (19881990), the television adaptation of Indian epic Mahabharata, had a share of 97.8% among Indian viewers.[95]

Aamir Khan's talk show Satyamev Jayate (20122014) drew an estimated audience of 600 million viewers in India.[96] 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.[97]

RankShowTRPNetwork
12016 Indian Premier League Final44.68Sony Pictures Networks
2Kasautii Zindagii Kay35.31Star Plus
3Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi22.1Star Plus
4Hum Paanch13.5Zee TV
5Koshish Ek Aashaa11.15Zee TV
6Amanat11.15Zee TV
7Des Mein Niklla Hoga Chand10.0Star Plus
8Jassi Jaissi Koi Nahin9.2Sony TV India
9Yeh Rishta Kya Kehlata Hai8.4Star Plus
10Diya Aur Baati Hum7.7Star Plus

Most viewed broadcasts

RankShowEpisodeViewership(millions)DateNetwork
12011 Cricket World CupSri Lanka vs India (final)340[98]2 April 2011Star Sports Network
22015 Cricket World CupAustralia vs India (semi-final)309[99]26 March 2015Star Sports
32015 Cricket World CupIndia vs Pakistan (group stage match)288[99]15 February 2015Star Sports
42015 Cricket World CupWest Indies vs India (group stage match)262[99]6 March 2015Star Sports
52015 Cricket World CupIndia vs South Africa (group stage match)257[99]22 February 2015Star Sports
62015 Cricket World CupIndia vs Bangladesh (quarter-final)251[99]19 March 2015Star Sports
72015 Cricket World CupZimbabwe vs India (group stage match)205[99]14 March 2015Star Sports
82017 ICC Champions TrophyIndia vs Pakistan (group stage match)201[100]4 June 2017Star Sports
92008 Indian Premier LeagueRoyal Challengers Bangalore vs Kolkata Knight Riders (group stage match)195[101]18 April 2008Sony Pictures Networks
102015 Cricket World CupIreland vs India (group stage match)168[99]10 March 2015Star Sports

Canada

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.[102] A groundbreaking 26.5 million Canadians watched some part of the game, over 80 percent of the country's 34-million-person population.[103] According to multiple sources, 13.3 million Canadians watched the games' opening ceremony, which was the previous record.[104]

Many believed the final game of the 1972 Summit Series had up to 18 million viewers, but this was not so; only 4.3 million people watched it. 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.[105]

China

China Central Television's Spring Festival Gala has regularly attracted between 700 million[106] to one billion viewers annually.[107]

The CCTV's main evening news broadcast Xinwen Lianbo has a daily audience of around 135 million people,[108] 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.[108]

France

RankShowEpisodeNumber of viewersDateNetwork
11998 FIFA World CupBrazil vs France (final)23,647,00012 July 1998TF1, Canal+
2UEFA Euro 2016Portugal vs France (final)22,292,00010 July 2016M6, BeIN Sports
32006 FIFA World CupPortugal vs France (semi-final)22,200,0005 July 2006TF1
42006 FIFA World CupItaly vs France (final)22,143,0009 July 2006TF1
52018 FIFA World CupFrance vs Croatia (final)20,940,00015 July 2018TF1, BeIN Sports
61998 FIFA World CupFrance vs Croatia (semi-final)20,597,0008 July 1998TF1, Canal+
7UEFA Euro 2016Germany vs France (semi-final)20,339,0007 July 2016TF1, BeIN Sports
8UEFA Euro 2000France vs Italy (final)20,279,0002 July 2000TF1
92018 FIFA World CupFrance vs Belgium (semi-final)20,178,00010 July 2018TF1, BeIN Sports
102006 FIFA World CupSpain vs France (Round of 16)19,564,00027 June 2006TF1
112006 FIFA World CupTogo vs France (group stage)18,331,00030 June 2006TF1
122007 Rugby World CupEngland vs France (semi-final)18,307,00013 October 2007TF1
13UEFA Euro 2016France vs Iceland (quarter-final)18,274,0003 July 2016M6, BeIN Sports
142014 FIFA World CupFrance vs Germany (quarter-final)18,085,0004 July 2014TF1, BeIN Sports
152006 FIFA World CupFrance vs South Korea (group stage)18,051,00018 June 2006TF1
162006 FIFA World CupBrazil vs France (quarter-final)17,939,0001 July 2006TF1
172014 FIFA World CupSwitzerland vs France (group stage)17,836,00020 June 2014TF1, BeIN Sports
18UEFA Euro 2000France vs Portugal (semi-final)17,691,00028 June 2000France 2
191990–91 European CupRed Star Belgrade vs Marseille (final)17,500,00029 May 1991TF1
20Television showLe Grand Bluff17,400,00026 December 1992TF1

Germany

RankShowEpisodeNumber of viewersShareDateNetwork
12014 FIFA World CupGermany vs Argentina (final)34,650,00086.3%13 July 2014Das Erste
22014 FIFA World CupBrazil vs Germany (semi-final)32,570,00087.8%8 July 2014ZDF
32010 FIFA World CupGermany vs Spain (semi-final)31,100,000 1, 483.2%7 July 2010Das Erste
4UEFA Euro 2016Germany vs France (semi-final)29,820,00080.6%7 July 2016ZDF
52006 FIFA World CupGermany vs Italy (semi-final)29,660,000 1, 2, 384.1%4 July 2006ZDF
6UEFA Euro 2008Germany vs Turkey (semi-final)29,460,00081.6%25 June 2008ZDF
72010 FIFA World CupGhana vs. Germany (group game)29,190,000 1, 4 79.7%23 June 2010Das Erste
81990 FIFA World CupWest Germany vs Argentina (final)28,660,00087.9%9 July 1990Das Erste
9UEFA Euro 1996Germany vs Czech Republic (final)28,440,00076.3%30 June 1996ZDF
10UEFA Euro 2016Germany vs Italy (quarter-final)28,320,00079.8%2 July 2016Das Erste
112014 FIFA World CupGermany vs Algeria (Round of 16)28,210,00085.1%30 June 2014ZDF
12UEFA Euro 2016Germany vs Slovakia (Round of 16)28,110,00081.2%26 June 2014ZDF
13UEFA Euro 2008Austria vs Germany (group game)28,040,000 1, 576.9%16 June 2008ZDF
14UEFA Euro 2012Germany vs Italy (semi-final)27,980,000 676.8%28 June 2012Das Erste
15The Black Forest Clinic"Die Schuldfrage" ("The question of guilt")27,970,00017 November 1985ZDF
162010 FIFA World CupGermany vs Australia (group game)27,910,000 1, 474.4%13 June 2010Das Erste
17UEFA Euro 2008Portugal vs Germany (quarter-final)27,700,000 1, 578.7%19 June 2008Das Erste
18UEFA Euro 2012Denmark vs Germany (group game)27,650,00074.2%13 June 2012ZDF
19UEFA Euro 2016Germany vs Poland (group game)27,320,00073.3%16 June 2016ZDF
202014 FIFA World CupUSA vs Germany (group game)27,250,00084.2%26 June 2014ZDF

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.[109]

Ireland

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.[110]

Japan

The following list is for Japanese anime only.

No. Show Household Rating Date Network
1 Chibi Maruko-chan 39.9%[111][112] 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

Mexico

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, 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.

New Zealand

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.[113]

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.

This television-related list is incomplete; you can help by expanding it.
No. Show Viewship Date Network
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

Philippines

AGB Nielsen

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.

Top 20 highest rated television programs in Mega Manila since 1992
(AGB Nielsen tallies)[114][115]
RankNetworkProgramYearRating
1ABS-CBNManny Pacquiao vs. Erik Morales200583.5%
2ABS-CBNRosalinda199969.8%
3ABS-CBNEsperanza199767.0%
4ABS-CBNPangako Sa 'Yo200264.9%
5ABS-CBNMeteor Garden200363.8%
6ABS-CBNMiss Universe 1994199462.5%
7RPNMarimar199661.7%
8ABS-CBNMaría Mercedes199659.7%
9RPNMiss Universe 1999199958.4%
10GMABubble Gang199757.6%
11ABS-CBNMaalaala Mo Kaya199257.3%
12ABS-CBNBalitang K199856.6%
13ABS-CBNWansapanataym199756.4%
14ABS-CBNTV Patrol199656.0%
15GMAi-Witness199955.3%
16ABS-CBNMagandang Gabi, Bayan200055.0%
17GMAMariMar200754.9%
18ABS-CBNManny Pacquiao vs. Oscar Larios200654.4%
19GMADarna200554.3%
20ABS-CBNMula Sa Puso199753.7%

Poland

List of the 10 most-watched television broadcasts since the beginning of telemetry research in Poland (since 1997) by Nielsen Media Research:[116][117][118][119][120][121][122]

Rank Program Date Channel Number of vievers 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%

Portugal

[123][124][125][126][127][128][129][130][131][132][133]

RankShowEpisodeRatingShareDateChannel
1UEFA Euro 2004Portugal vs The Netherlands (semi-final)40.185.4%30 June 2004RTP1
2UEFA Euro 2012Portugal vs Spain (semi-final)39.576.0%27 June 2012SIC
3UEFA Euro 2004Portugal vs England (quarter-final)39.085.1%24 June 2004RTP1
4UEFA Euro 2016Portugal vs Wales (semi-final)38.475.4%6 July 2016RTP1
5UEFA Euro 2016Portugal vs France (final)38.278.1%10 July 2016RTP1
6UEFA Euro 2012Portugal vs The Netherlands (group stage match)38.173.4%17 June 2012TVI
72014 FIFA World CupUnited States vs Portugal (group stage match)37.875.4%22 June 2014RTP1
8UEFA Euro 2004Portugal vs Greece (final)37.789.7%4 July 2004RTP1
9UEFA Euro 2016Poland vs Portugal (quarter-final)37.469.9%30 June 2016RTP1
102006 FIFA World CupPortugal vs France (semi-final)37.282.3%5 July 2006SIC
11A Próxima VítimaThe Last Episode37.180.2%19 January 1996SIC
12UEFA Euro 2012Czech Republic vs Portugal (quarter-final)36.171.7%21 June 2012RTP1
13UEFA Euro 2004Russia vs Portugal (group stage match)35.581.4%16 June 2004SIC
14UEFA Euro 2016Portugal vs Iceland (group stage match)35.168.6%14 June 2016RTP1
15UEFA Euro 2004Spain vs Portugal (group stage match)34.983.2%20 June 2004TVI
162006 FIFA World CupPortugal vs The Netherlands (round of 16)34.980.7%25 June 2006SIC
17UEFA Euro 2008Portugal vs Germany (quarter-finals)34.575.6%19 June 2008TVI
182015 Portuguese legislative electionDebate: António Costa vs. Pedro Passos Coelho34.166%10 September 2015RTP1, SIC, TVI
192014 FIFA World Cup qualificationSweden vs Portugal (second leg playoff match)34.162.2%19 November 2013RTP1
20UEFA Europa LeagueSL Benfica vs Chelsea FC (final)33.862.3%16 May 2013SIC
21UEFA Euro 2000France vs. Portugal (Semi-finals)33.276.7%28 June 2000RTP1
222006 FIFA World CupAngola vs Portugal (group stage match)32.880.9%11 June 2006SIC
232018 FIFA World CupIran vs Portugal (group stage match)32.471.6%25 June 2018RTP1
24UEFA Euro 2012Germany vs Portugal (group stage match)32.468.3%9 June 2012RTP1
25O Rei do GadoBrazilian telenovela32.2January 1997SIC
26UEFA Champions LeagueMonaco vs Porto (final)31.770.5%26 May 2004RTP1
27UEFA Euro 2016Croatia vs Portugal (Round of 16)31.370%26 June 2016RTP1
28UEFA Europa LeagueSevilla FC vs SL Benfica (final)31.161.4%14 May 2014SIC
29UEFA Champions LeagueReal Madrid vs Atlético Madrid (final)30.864.3%24 May 2014TVI
30Terra NostraBrazilian telenovela30.864%11 January 2000SIC
312006 FIFA World CupPortugal vs Iran30.483.1%17 June 2006SIC
32UEFA Europa LeagueJuventus FC vs SL Benfica (semi-final)30.458.9%1 May 2014SIC
33Big Brother PortugalLive eviction show30.272.5%26 December 2000TVI
342018 FIFA World CupUruguay vs Portugal (round of 16)30.170.1%30 June 2018RTP1
352018 FIFA World CupPortugal vs Spain (group stage match)30.169.1%15 June 2018RTP1
36UEFA CupSporting CP vs CSKA Moscow (Final)30.168.4%18 May 2005RTP1
37Taça de PortugalSL Benfica vs Sporting CP (Sixth round)29.962.6%26 January 2005RTP1
38Torre de BabelBrazilian telenovela29.877.1%2 April 1999SIC
39UEFA Euro 2008Switzerland vs Portugal29.871.8%15 June 2008TVI
40UEFA CupCeltic FC vs FC Porto29.767.5%21 May 2003SIC
412006 FIFA World CupGermany vs Portugal (third place play-off)29.678.4%8 July 2006SIC
42UEFA Champions LeagueBarcelona vs Benfica (quarter-finals)29.365.4%5 April 2006RTP1
432006 FIFA World CupEngland vs Portugal (quarter-finals)29.288.1%1 July 2006SIC
442010 FIFA World CupSpain vs Portugal (Round of 16)29.175.9%29 June 2010RTP1
45Juntos Por TodosBenefit concert28.867.8%27 June 2017RTP1, SIC, TVI
46Médico de FamíliaPortuguese TV series27.961.4%16 March 1999SIC

South Korea

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%.[134]

Top 20 most-watched South Korean dramas since 1992 (AGB Nielsen tallies)
#DramaChannelViewershipDate
1.First LoveKBS265.8%20 April 1997
2.What is LoveMBC64.9%24 May 1992
3.SandglassSBS64.5%6 February 1995
4.Hur JunMBC63.7%27 June 2000
5.Sunny Place of YouthKBS262.7%12 November 1995
6.You and IMBC62.4%12 April 1998
7.The Son and the DaughterMBC61.1%21 March 1993
8.Taejo Wang GeonKBS160.2%20 May 2001
9.Eyes of DawnMBC58.4%6 February 1992
10.Dae Jang GeumMBC57.8%23 March 2004
11.Lovers in ParisSBS57.6%15 August 2004
12.See and See AgainMBC57.3%12 October 1998
13.TruthMBC56.5%24 February 2000
14.JealousyMBC56.1%21 July 1992
15.Even When the Wind BlowsKBS155.8%26 February 1996
16.Bathhouse MenKBS253.4%25 August 1996
17.Gook Hee (tie)MBC53.1%16 November 1999
17.Trap of Youth (tie)SBS53.1%15 April 1999
19.TomatoSBS52.7%3 June 1999
20.MMBC52.2%30 August 1994

Sweden

Statistics from Mediamätning Skandinavien.[135]

Most-watched programmes per year

Year Programme Date Number of viewers (millions) Network
2000Melodifestivalen 200010 March4.175SVT2
2001Melodifestivalen 200123 February3.84SVT1
2002Melodifestivalen 20021 March3.72SVT1
2003Melodifestivalen 200315 March3.815SVT1
2004Melodifestivalen 200420 March4.105SVT1
2005Melodifestivalen 200512 March4.055SVT1
2006Melodifestivalen 200618 March4.240SVT1
2007Melodifestivalen 200710 March3.975SVT1
2008Melodifestivalen 200815 March4.045SVT1
2009Melodifestivalen 200914 March3.59SVT1
2010Melodifestivalen 201013 March3.87SVT1
2011Melodifestivalen 201112 March3.67SVT1
2012Melodifestivalen 201210 March4.11SVT1
2013Melodifestivalen 20139 March4.15SVT1
2014Kalle Anka och hans vänner önskar god jul24 December3.705SVT1
2015Melodifestivalen 201514 March3.771SVT1

Most-watched sport events per year

Year Programme Date Number of viewers (millions) Network
2000UEFA Euro 2000 Final (FRA–ITA)2 July2.34SVT2
20012001 World Men's Handball Championship Final (FRA–SWE)4 February2.635TV4
20022002 European Men's Handball Championship Final (SWE–GER)3 February3.06TV4
20032003 FIFA Women's World Cup Final (GER–SWE)12 October3.525TV4
2004UEFA Euro 2004 (SWE–DEN)22 June3.796TV4
20052005 World Championships in Athletics7 August4.055TV4
20062006 Men's Olympic Ice Hockey Final (SWE–FIN)26 February3.52SVT2
2007FIS Alpine World Ski Championships 2007 – Women's slalom16 February2.23SVT1
2008UEFA Euro 2008 (GRE–SWE)10 June3.03TV4
20092010 FIFA World Cup qualification – UEFA Group 1 (DEN–SWE)10 October1.805Kanal 5
20102010 FIFA World Cup Final (NED–ESP)11 July2.66SVT1
20112011 IIHF World Championship Final (SWE–FIN)15 May2.035TV3
2012UEFA Euro 2012 (UKR–SWE)11 June2.94SVT1
20132013 IIHF World Championship Final (SWE–SUI)19 May2.915TV4
20142014 FIFA World Cup (GER–ARG)13 July2.810TV4
2015FIS Nordic World Ski Championships 20151 May2.272SVT1

United Kingdom

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.

Rank Event Viewers
(millions)
Date Network
11966 FIFA World Cup Final: England v West Germany32.30[136]30 July 1966BBC One/ITV
2Funeral of Diana, Princess of Wales32.10[137]6 September 1997BBC One/ITV
3Royal Family (documentary)30.69[136]21 June 1969 and 28 June 1969BBC One/ITV
4Apollo 13 splashdown28.60[138]17 April 1970BBC One/ITV
51970 FA Cup Final replay28.49[138]29 April 1970BBC One/ITV
6Wedding of Charles, Prince of Wales, and Lady Diana Spencer28.40[139]29 July 1981BBC One/ITV
7Wedding of Princess Anne and Mark Phillips27.60[138]14 November 1973BBC One
82012 Summer Olympics closing ceremony24.46[140]12 August 2012BBC One
92012 Summer Olympics opening ceremony24.24[141]27 July 2012BBC One
10Torvill and DeanOlympic Ice Dance Championship23.95[142]21 February 1994BBC One

Notes:

Most-watched programmes

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).

Rank Show Episode Number of viewers
(millions)
Date Network
1EastEndersDen serves Angie with divorce papers.30.15[146]25 December 1986*BBC One
2EastEndersMichelle Fowler reveals she is pregnant.28.00[147]1 January 1986*BBC One
3Coronation StreetHilda Ogden leaves26.65[147]25 December 1987*ITV (Granada)
4Only Fools and Horses"Time on Our Hands"24.35[148]29 December 1996BBC One
5EastEndersN/A24.30[137]2 January 1992*BBC One
6Royal Variety Performance 1965Ft. Dame Shirley Bassey, Peter Cook & Dudley Moore CBE and more.24.20[136]14 November 1965ITV (ATV)
7EastEndersN/A24.15[149]7 January 1988*BBC One
8To the Manor Born"A Touch of Class" - Series 1 Finale23.95[138]11 November 1979BBC One
9Miss World 1967Peru wins.23.76[136]19 November 1967BBC One
10EastEndersN/A23.55[150]26 December 1985*BBC One
11PanoramaDiana, Princess of Wales22.78[151]20 November 1995BBC One
12Royal Variety Performance 1975Bruce Forsyth, Dad's Army & Vera Lynn22.66[138]16 November 1975ITV (ATV)
13This Is Your LifeLord Mountbatten22.22[138]27 April 1977ITV (Thames)
14Sunday Night at the London PalladiumN/A21.89[136]3 December 1967ITV (ATV)
15The Benny Hill ShowN/A21.67[138]24 March 1971ITV (Thames)
16Dallas"Who Done It" – J.R. Ewing's shooter is revealed21.60[139]22 November 1980BBC One
Coronation StreetKen and Deirdre divorce21.60[137]8 January 1992ITV (Granada)
18Eurovision Song Contest 1973Anne-Marie David wins for Luxembourg.21.56[138]7 April 1973BBC One
19Steptoe and Son"The Lodger" – Albert looks for a Lodger21.54[136]18 February 1964BBC TV
20The Mike Yarwood ShowMike Yarwood Christmas Show21.40[138]25 December 1977BBC One
Coronation StreetBet Lynch becomes landlady of the Rovers Return Inn.21.40[150]2 January 1985ITV (Granada)

*Denotes aggregated figure with repeat showing.

United States

NBC's live telecast of Super Bowl XLIX in 2015 currently holds the record for the largest average viewership of any U.S. television broadcast, with 114.4 million viewers.[152] During this broadcast, the halftime show featuring Katy Perry was watched by 118.5 million viewers.[152] 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.[153] Moreover, Super Bowl telecasts account for 23 of the most-watched television broadcasts based on overall viewership in U.S. television history.[154] 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).

Most-watched broadcasts

No.ShowViewership (millions)[155][156]DateNetwork
1Super Bowl XLIX114.4February 1, 2015NBC
2Super Bowl XLVIII112.2February 2, 2014Fox
3Super Bowl 50111.9February 7, 2016CBS
4Super Bowl LI111.3February 5, 2017Fox
5Super Bowl XLVI111.3February 5, 2012NBC
6Super Bowl XLV111.0February 6, 2011Fox
7Super Bowl XLVII108.7February 3, 2013CBS
8Super Bowl XLIV106.5February 7, 2010CBS
9M*A*S*H (Finale)105.9[157]February 28, 1983CBS
10Super Bowl LII103.4February 4, 2018NBC
11Roots (Part VIII)100.0[158]January 30, 1977ABC
12Super Bowl XLIII98.7February 1, 2009NBC
13Super Bowl XLII97.4February 3, 2008Fox
14Super Bowl XXX94.1January 28, 1996NBC
15Super Bowl XLI93.2February 4, 2007CBS
16Super Bowl XX92.6January 26, 1986NBC
17Super Bowl XXVII91.0January 31, 1993NBC
18Super Bowl XL90.7February 5, 2006ABC
19Muhammad Ali vs. Leon Spinks II90.0[159][160]September 15, 1978ABC
20 Super Bowl XXVIII90.0January 30, 1994NBC
Super Bowl XXXII90.0January 25, 1998NBC

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