The U.K. newspapers are calling it the “worst royal crisis since the abdication.” But when it came to advertising slots during the broadcast of Oprah Winfrey’s interview with Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, brands saw no reason to be loyal to the monarchy.
Advertisers during the two hour Monday night broadcast on ITV, which was watched by a peak audience of 12.4 million people, included global power brands such as Airbnb, Uber Eats, eBay, Procter & Gamble’s Always and Pampers, and Unilever brands Dove and Lifebuoy. Others running commercials included automakers Kia and Toyota, and luxury advertisers such as Dior and Yves Saint Laurent.
But viewers also saw ads from some of the U.K.’s biggest local advertisers. Retailers Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Aldi, Iceland and Marks & Spencer all bought spots, which were estimated to be priced at around £120,000 (approx $167,000)—more than double the usual rate for a Monday evening—as did Virgin Media, Sky, HSBC and Britbox.
According to ITV’s overnight ratings, the broadcast was viewed by a 54% share of U.K. viewers between 9 p.m. and 11 p.m.. It did particularly well with younger audiences, with 83% of 16-34 year-old TV viewers tuning in at its peak. Altogether, it was the biggest peak U.K. audience since the 2019 Rugby World Cup final, and the biggest U.K. audience on any channel since the final of "Strictly Come Dancing" on BBC One in December.