Web Traffic Spikes for Royal Wedding

With the number of TV viewers for the Royal Wedding expected to hit record levels, a few early numbers are also showing that the event boosted live video streams to record levels for some providers, though North America numbers were hurt by the fact that the wedding occurred during early morning hours that normally see light traffic.

Akamai, which handled the transmission of live streams from the Royal Wedding for Fox News, CBS and about two dozen outlets from around the world over its network, reported peak traffic of about 2.9 million live streams over its network during the event.

This figure includes live and on-demand streams of both Royal Wedding coverage and unrelated video going over the Akamai network. No final breakdown of Royal Wedding coverage was available but seems to have been on par with the 1.6 million streams served by Akamai clients during the World Cup in 2010.

North American figures were more modest, given the early morning hour of the wedding, when internet traffic is normally low. In a blog on its website, Sandvine reported preliminary results showing "a significant increase in video traffic on North America's fixed access networks, let by RTMP (Real-Time Messaging Protocol) and Flash, which both surged more than 20% above the same period last week, and a slight increase in HTTP traffic (driven by web browsing)."

YouTube traffic also saw "a clear spike," though usage dropped off after 6:30 a.m. Eastern time, reported Sandvine, which provides technology for managing network traffic and regularly issues reports on Internet traffic.

Early CNN numbers also saw a significant spike, with about 575,000 live video streams through 10 a.m. ET. During that period, CNN.com had 21.5 million page views, up 61% over the average of the four prior Fridays during the same hours.

Global video usage at CNN.com (both VOD and Live) hit 3.9 million video starts, up 379% over the four prior Fridays.

Meanwhile, global page views for CNN Mobile stood at 3.0 million through 10 a.m. ET, up 33% from the prior 4-Friday average and U.S. video views on CNN mobile jumped 605%, hitting 49,900.

Given the traffic, some web sites had problems, with The Telegraph in the U.K. reporting that the BBC's sites had gone down temporarily.

But in general few major problems were reported and in some metrics the event lagged behind traffic seen during other major news and sporting events. This morning Akamai reported a peak of about 5.3 million page views during the last 24 hours, with a peak of 4,069,623 in North America and 1,945,091 in Europe over its networks.

While high, that lagged behind the record set in June of 24, 2010 during the World Cup and the longest ever Wimbledon match of 10.4 million page views for traffic over Akamai's network. Other record page view days on the Akamai network that beat the Royal Wedding include November 3, 2010 (6.4 million page views during the Champions League games), June 11, 2010 (6.0 million on the first day of the World Cup), June 23, 2010 (5.6 million when U.S. beat Algeria during the World Cup), and November 2, 2010 (5.7 million for the U.S. mid-term elections,) according to data posted on Akamai's web site.