About 31.1 million people in the U.S. watched the Michael Jackson memorial on television, with millions more catching video streams on their computers.
The Nielsen Media Research estimate Wednesday provided only a slice of the audience for the Los Angeles event. But it did offer insight on how the memorial compared to other events: President Barack Obama's inauguration in January was seen by 38 million people on TV, and the "American Idol" finale in May had 28.9 million viewers.
Nielsen did not immediately have an estimate of the worldwide audience.
Meanwhile, Los Angeles officials said late Wednesday that $1.4 million was spent to provide security, traffic control and other services surrounding Jackson's memorial service.
The police department said Wednesday that more than 4,000 officers worked to secure Staples Center, Forest Lawn cemetery, and other areas that attracted fans and members of the media. Their deployment cost $1.1 million in overtime pay.