LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The globe-spanning Live Earth pop music extravaganza fell flat for television viewers in the United States and Britain, drawing far smaller audiences than the Princess Diana tribute concert a week earlier.
The main three-hour American TV broadcast on NBC averaged a meager 2.7 million viewers, ranking as the least-watched U.S. program on Saturday night and falling below NBC’s summer prime-time Saturday average, Nielsen Media Research reported on Monday.
Even rival network ABC’s rerun telecast of the animated film “Monsters Inc” garnered a bigger audience — 3.3 million viewers. The most watched show of the evening was the CBS news magazine “48 Hours” with 6.5 million viewers.
By comparison, NBC, a unit of General Electric Co., averaged 8.8 million viewers with its hourlong broadcast of the memorial concert for the late Princess Diana the previous Sunday.
It was the same story in Britain, where BBC One coverage of the Live Earth climax at London’s Wembley Stadium, leading up to Madonna’s eagerly awaited finale, averaged 3.1 million viewers, compared with 11.4 million for the Diana tribute.
In Germany, the ProSieben network registered 1 million viewers for its Live Earth telecast, accounting for a relatively healthy 6.3 percent market share.
The overall numbers amounted to a small fraction of the 2 billion people that Live Earth organizers had hoped to reach through TV, radio and Internet coverage of the event, spearheaded by former U.S. Vice President Al Gore to raise awareness of global warming.
It appeared the Internet was the medium of choice for fans wishing to experience a worldwide music event from afar.
Microsoft Corp.’s Web portal MSN said on Saturday that Live Earth concerts generated more than 9 million Internet streams, the most ever for an online entertainment event.
That number surpassed the previous record held by 2005’s Live 8 concerts to fight global poverty, MSN said. ABC’s Live 8 telecast, which also fell on a Saturday night in July, averaged 2.9 million viewers.