Overnight viewing figures for the One Love Manchester concert held last night and headlined by Ariana Grande show it to be the UK’s most watched TV program of the year. An average 10.9M viewers tuned in for a 49.3 share, with a peak of 14.5M; 69% of viewers were between 16-24. The concert, which also featured such artists as Justin Bieber, Coldplay, Katy Perry, Miley Cyrus, Pharrell Williams, Liam Gallagher, Take That, Robbie Williams and Black Eyed Peas, began at 7PM local and was aired on BBC One. It also played live in over 50 countries under deals with BBC Worldwide.
Further, 22.6M people tuned in for at least three minutes during the broadcast from the Old Trafford Cricket Ground. The benefit was held to support the victims of a suicide bombing that took the lives of 22 people at the end of Grande’s concert in the city less than two weeks ago. It also came less than 24 hours after a terrorist attack in London left seven people dead and dozens injured.
Around 50,000 people attended the event on Sunday night, with all proceeds going to the We Love Manchester Emergency Fund set up by Manchester City Council in partnership with the British Red Cross. The three-hour extravaganza raised over £2M ($2.6M).
An emotional Grande, who mostly kept it about the music, had a brief comment for the audience when she thanked everyone for “coming together and being so loving and strong and unified.”
She said: “I love you guys so much and I think that the kind of love and unity you’re displaying is the medicine the world really needs now so I want to thank you for being just that and I want to thank you for coming tonight.”
Every artist had an emotional message, with common threads of togetherness and love prevailing; Grande wrapped up the event with a moving performance of “Somewhere Over The Rainbow.”
Given the situation in London, there had earlier been some concern about the event’s status. But Grande and Bieber’s manager Scooter Braun released a statement early yesterday saying it would go on “with greater purpose.” He pledged of the victims and others affected, “We plan to honor them with courage, bravery and defiance in the face of fear.”
ABC/Freeform aired the concert live in the U.S. with MTV’s digital platform, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube streaming the event.