Twitter has announced that the first general-election debate on Sept. 26 as well as the proceeding ones will be livestream thanks to a partnership with Bloomberg Media. The news comes just a day after ABC News announced it would stream its coverage on Facebook. Other networks have yet to reveal their digital plans.
Twitter has already become a go-to destination for political news, discussion and the not-so-occasional spat. The campaigns of Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump have sparred on Twitter on a regular basis.
This is the first time Twitter is hosting a live video feed of a presidential debate. It comes a long way from the first 2012 presidential debate, which was the most watched and tweeted in history, where 67.2 million people watched on TV at home and 10 million tweets were sent.
We are thrilled to extend our partnership with Twitter to include our coverage of the U.S. presidential debates during this unprecedented and remarkable U.S. election,” Bloomberg Media CEO Justin B. Smith said in a statement. “Bloomberg’s non-partisan political coverage stands out from the crowd for its independence and quality.”
In addition to the 90-minute debates, Twitter and Bloomberg will stream 30 minutes of programming before and after, led by Bloomberg Politics Managing Editors Mark Halperin and John Heilemann.
The stream will be available at debates.twitter.com, a new URL that will go live closer to the debates, and on Twitter Moments and Bloomberg’s Twitter account @bpolitics. Similar to Twitter’s other partnerships like Thursday night football, a stream of related tweets will run side-by-side with the live video feed. Unlike with Facebook’s stream, viewers do not need a Twitter account to watch.
It’s not surprising that Twitter is hosting a live stream of the debates. The company’s stock has drastically fallen over the last two years amid stagnant user growth and an inability to turn a significant profit, leading investors and board members to question its future.
Two-time CEO Jack Dorsey and his executive team are betting that live video will position the network as a more valuable destination for live content, where people already go to share and read thoughts on news, entertainment, sports and politics, for example, and politicians share campaign trail updates and comment on their opponents.
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