Johnny Depp - Amber Heard Verdict Draws Record Audience for Law&Crime Network on YouTube

Depp Verdict Court TV
(Image credit: Court TV)

Johnny Depp wasn’t the only winner in the sensational defamation trial between the actor and his ex-wife Amber Heard. The case drew viewers to emerging legal networks Law&Crime and Court TV with the verdict providing an exclamation point.

Dan Abrams’ Law&Crime network set its YouTube viewership record with more than 3.5 million live concurrent viewers during its coverage of the verdict Wednesday.

Daily viewership was 50 times higher while the case was being heard, compared to before the trial began. Since the trial began, Law&Crime’s YouTube page has seen nearly a billion views on content related to the case and welcomed 2.3 million new subscribers, and saw growth on its TikTok and Twitch profiles.

Law&Crime’s traditional cable platforms also saw a significant increase in viewership as well, but linear ratings will take a while to become available.

“We want to thank the millions of viewers who tuned in and trusted us as their source for the most thorough and smart coverage of this high-profile trial,” said Rachel Stockman, president of Law&Crime. “We look forward to introducing this new audience to our additional live trials, VOD offerings and podcasts.”

E.W. Scripps’ Court TV said it won’t have linear viewing numbers until next week. 

During its coverage of Depp v Heard Court TV nearly quadrupled its audience live trial coverage, up 278% compared to the pre-trial period. Daily streaming hours were up 415% during this same period.

Court TV provided the pool feed from the courtroom.

“Viewers tuned in for every second of our insightful coverage of the Depp-Heard trial evidenced by the record-setting ratings across our myriad platforms,” said Ethan Nelson, acting head of Court TV. “Court TV worked closely with Fairfax County courthouse officials to ensure that cameras would be allowed in the courtroom. It was our people and our cameras that provided the feed so this riveting trial could be seen around the world. Court TV will continue to lead the charge for media access in our country’s courtrooms.”

The jury found that both Depp and Heard were liable for defamation. Depp was awarded $10 million in compensatory damages and $5 million in punitive damages. Heard was awarded $2 million in compensatory damages.

The big cable news networks also carried the verdict live. ■

Jon Lafayette

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.