Royal wedding worth the media frenzy?

Prince William and Kate Middleton arrive at Witton Country Park in Darwen, England on April 11, 2011.
Tim Hales/AP Photo

When Clarence House -- the royal house in London -- announced last November that Prince William had popped the question to Kate Middleton, a media frenzy began almost immediately, and many people worldwide have been gripped by wedding fever ever since.

It's been just 23 weeks since William and Kate got engaged, but the coverage continues to build. And now, with the wedding just three days away, some in the media can't get enough, while others are saying "enough already."

Complete Coverage: The Royal Wedding

With so much speculation about when William would finally tie the Windsor knot, the Nov. 16 tweet was the message heard 'round the world: "The Prince of Wales is delighted to announce the engagement of Prince William to Miss Catherine Middleton."

The newsflash was instantaneous and blinding. Journalists from all over the world were on London's doorstep in less than 24 hours.

Online, there are 9,000 new posts about the wedding every day. CBS News correspondent Ben Tracy reported on "The early Show" Tuesday that the Buckingham Palace public relations machine has doled out a nearly daily dose of details, on everything from the cake to the carriages.

Suzanne Zuckerman, staff writer for People magazine, said, "They have initiated a YouTube channel devoted to the royal wedding, the Queen herself has a Facebook page, Buckingham Palace tweets about the royal wedding."

And now a media mob, some 7,000 strong, is setting up platforms so they catch the storybook ending at Westminster Abbey.

Robert Thompson, professor of Television and Popular Culture at Syracuse University, said, "If you were to turn on the television or look at a magazine or log onto the Internet, you would swear that this wedding was the biggest thing maybe that ever happened on planet Earth or in this solar system."

Of course, Tracy observes, it's not. In the Middle East, people are fighting for freedom, Japan is still reeling from disaster, and many Americans are struggling to simply fill the tank. So William and Kate may be a diversion. But for some, the desire for coverage is insatiable.

Rebecca Crittenden, an Alabama resident, said, "I've watched it all over and over."

For others, the royal news is insufferable.

David J. Phillips, of the United Kingdom said, "It's just noise -- more noise -- and a lot of noise. That's it."

Yet, says Tracy, this so-called fairytale is a serious draw. Two billion people are expected to watch on TV, the largest audience for anything -- ever.

But the British themselves apparently aren't too interested in William and Kate. In a recent poll, only a-third of people said they plan to watch the wedding on TV, and half in the U.K. said they're "actively uninterested" in all the hoopla.

"Early Show" co-anchor Erica Hill, herself in London to cover the big event, pointed to some other top television events:

  • Wedding of Princess Diana and Prince Charles in 1981: 600,000 people lined the streets of London for that big day, 650 million watched worldwide
  • President Barack Obama's Inauguration in 2009: 1.8 million people lined the streets of Washington, 38 million Americans watched it on TV. That number does not include the international audience that day. There are also 4,000 Facebook status updates per minute.
  • Opening Ceremony of the 2008 Summer Olympic Games in Beijing: Worldwide, 984 million people tuned in.