Royal wedding sparks record surge in digital traffic

The royal wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle triggered an old-style race to the finish for print editions of celebrity weeklies.

This royal coupling also triggered a record surge in digital traffic, which is eclipsing the viewership of the TV audience.

Nielsen said that 29.2 Americans tuned in to watch across 15 broadcast and cable channels.

The digital audience for People alone over the weekend was 22.5 million, and Hearst digital across all its titles pulled in another 25 million. The best TV network draw was NBC’s 6.4 million viewers, followed by ABC’s 6.2 million.

“It is the hot story of the week, and no one will be left behind,” said Samir Husni, a professor at the University of Mississippi and director of its Magazine Innovation Center.

“Meghan Markle had already been crowned by the magazine media as a celebrity, a princess, way before she received the official title from the queen,” Husni said.

The first of the post-wedding print issues will start hitting on Wednesday, and publishers expect a bonanza on newsstands.

“People are obsessed with Meghan and her romance with Prince Harry,” said Jess Cagle, editorial director of People, which is raising its cover price by $1, to $6.99, for the royal wedding issue.

Michelle Tauber, the royals editor, wrote the lead for the 38-page print package and supervised the entire digital and video package that included royals correspondent Simon Perry. “There’s a book in the works as well,” Cagle added. That hits June 1.

People’s top social post, “#PrinceHarry adorably wipes away a tear at the #RoyalWedding,” hit more than 17 million video views to date, making it People’s most-viewed Instagram video of all time.

Time magazine Editor Edward Felsenthal also had his staff work through the weekend and moved its own sale date to Wednesday, two days earlier than normal.

Felsenthal’s old boss at the Daily Beast, Tina Brown — a bestselling biographer of Princess Diana — contributed to Time’s coverage.

Us Weekly Editor Jen Peros was in Windsor, England, for the wedding and is cranking out the publication’s cover story for Wednesday.

Not everyone is jumping on the bandwagon with both feet, however.

“We decided to take a little bit of a contrarian approach,” said James Heidenry, editorial director at Bauer, which publishes celeb titles In Touch, Life & Style and Closer.

In Touch features a cover on FLOTUS Melania Trump, with a royal wedding “chip” — industry jargon for the smaller photo on the corner of a magazine cover for the second-most important story in the issue.

Closer’s main is the 40th anniversary of “Grease,” and L&S features country singers Carrie Underwood and Miranda Lambert — although both titles give the royals a chip on the cover.

Hearst-owned Town & Country published a $13.99 bookazine entitled “American Princess: Meghan Markle” on April 12 — one day before a $14.99 bookazine from Life hit. T&C staffers worked through the weekend to produce a second bookazine, a $13.95 cover price entitled “T&C Presents Harry & Meghan, The Royal Wedding Album,” which hits Thursday.

Condé Nast said bookazine “Vanity Fair Harry & Meghan” hits June 5, after the first round of weeklies will be off the newsstand.

It also said Brides saw a 144 percent uptick in digital traffic. Even Martha Stewart Weddings got in on the act, going with live social media coverage from 5 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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