BuzzFeed’s Live Election-Night Twitter Broadcast Draws 6.8 Million Total Viewers to Watch Hillary Clinton Lose

Todd Spangler
Variety

BuzzFeed’s TV-style live-stream on election night Tuesday — distributed exclusively via Twitter — pulled in 6.8 million mostly millennial unique viewers from across the globe.

The companies touted a young, mobile-skewing audience for BuzzFeed’s special, “Election Night Live: We did it America: 83% of logged-in live viewers were under 35, and 73% of all viewers were watching on mobile devices. According to Twitter, it was the most-viewed U.S. election-related live stream on the service to date, beating out unique viewer totals for the political conventions and presidential debates.

But measured by TV standards, the Twitter-BuzzFeed audience was relatively tiny — note that the 6.8 million number includes people who watched the video stream for as little as 3 seconds.

The live stream had an average-minute audience of 165,000 viewers globally, peaking at 244,000 concurrent viewers. By contrast, more than 71 million U.S. television viewers watched Donald Trump’s shocking defeat of Hillary Clinton, per Nielsen.

Meanwhile, Twitter has reeled in more-engaged audiences for its live-streams of the Trump-Clinton debates and the NFL’s “Thursday Night Football.” Bloomberg TV’s coverage of the second presidential debate had an average-minute audience of 369,000 viewers, and the New England Patriots-Houston Texans game on Sept. 22 had an AMA of 327,000.

Advertisers in the BuzzFeed broadcast included Paramount Pictures, Amazon’s “The Man in the High Castle,” Activision’s “Call of Duty,” Johnnie Walker and IZOD. The ads were sold by Twitter, and BuzzFeed is receiving a cut of the revenue.

BuzzFeed News’ election-night stream featured more than six hours of coverage, anchored from its New York City headquarters on a specially built set in the BuzzFeed cafeteria. Produced by TV veteran Bruce Perlmutter, the program featured political and celebrity guests including President Obama; “Scandal” star Tony Goldwyn; 2016 GOP presidential hopeful Ben Carson; civil-rights activist DeRay Mckesson; Tim Miller, Jeb Bush’s former communications director; comedian Seaton Smith; and Voto Latino president María Teresa Kumar.

Twitter said Nov. 8 was the most-tweeted election day ever. Users worldwide sent more than 75 million election-related posts from before polls opened to just after President-elect Trump’s 3 a.m. ET victory speech, according to Twitter.

In its most ambitious live production to date, BuzzFeed promised to break conventions of traditional TV election night programming. For example, it reported on and analyzed other networks’ election calls, and BuzzFeed teamed with grassroots collaborative effort Decision Desk HQ, which forecast election results based on social-media conversation.

Something else you didn’t see on cable or broadcast TV: Staffers including host Tracy Clayton (of BuzzFeed’s “Another Round” podcast) took swigs of liquor during the broadcast.

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