BuzzFeed Teams With Twitter for Election-Night Live-Streaming Special

Todd Spangler
Variety

BuzzFeed has done plenty of live-streaming video on Facebook, but on Nov. 8 it will produce an election-night special that will be available exclusively on Twitter.

Starting at 6 p.m. Eastern on Nov. 8, BuzzFeed News will present live coverage from its New York City offices on Twitter, with the video accompanied by a feed of election-related tweets. Longtime TV producer Bruce Perlmutter will serve as executive producer of the special.

The BuzzFeed News live stream on Twitter will include TV-style mid-roll advertising spots combined with original news clips produced by BuzzFeed News that advertisers will be able to sponsor and promote on Twitter. BuzzFeed News will work with Decision Desk HQ on projected winners of the evening’s races — which the company claims will provide “a fast, accurate alternative to the television networks’ single set of election data.”

BuzzFeed, however, heads into the biggest night of the 2016 political season without its K-File investigative reporting unit, led by Andrew Kaczynski, after CNN poached the four-person team earlier this month. The K-File reporters’ scoops this year have included tracking down audio from a 2002 interview in which Trump told Howard Stern he was opposed to the Iraq invasion.

“At a time when so much political coverage amounts to reading tweets aloud, we’re excited to add original reporting and analysis inside Twitter,” BuzzFeed editor-in-chief Ben Smith said.

The BuzzFeed livestream will be available at election.twitter.com, but that won’t go live until a few days prior to the election.

Perlmutter, who previously has worked at CNN, MSNBC, and E!, has overseen production of live events including the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, live red-carpet events, and most recently the Fox special “Heaven Sent,” in which skydiver Luke Aikins made a 25,000-foot jump without a parachute.

Twitter’s live-stream of Bloomberg Media’s coverage of the second presidential debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump on Oct. 9 reached 3.2 million unique viewers, an increase of 30% over the first presidential debate. Its average per-minute audience was up 7%, to 369,000 viewers, while the U.S. TV audience declined 21% versus the first Trump-Clinton meeting. The debate also became the most-tweeted political event of the 2016 season with more than 17 million debate-related posts.

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