Debate Live Streams Bring Mixed Results for Twitter, YouTube

The Hollywood Reporter

Not only did the second presidential debate break Twitter's record to become the most-tweeted debate in history, the Sunday night showdown between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump also saw live streaming gains. 

The San Francisco-based social platform reports that its live stream of Bloomberg Politics' broadcast reached 3.2 million unique viewers, up 30 percent over the 2.5 million unique viewers during the first presidential debate. Twitter defines a unique viewer as anyone who watches the video in 100 percent view for at least three seconds.

The average audience on Twitter, which counts pre- and post-debate coverage as well as the main 90-minute event, was 369,000 viewers, up 7 percent from the first debate. Twitter also notes that 70 percent of the live viewers on Sunday evening were under the age of 35. 

YouTube, meanwhile, saw a decline in live streaming viewers from the first debate to the second. The Google-owned streamer saw more than 1.5 million peak concurrent live streaming viewers, down from the nearly 2 million concurrent viewers who watched the first presidential debate. That's more in line with the trend on television, where viewership across 10 networks was off about 18 percent from the first debate. 

The good news for YouTube is that live and on-demand video viewing around the showdown generated more than 124 million views since Sunday, a 40 percent increase over the first debate's 88 million views. 

Live streaming was not as prevalent during the 2012 presidential election as it is today. While YouTube has had live streaming capabilities for some time, Twitter and Facebook have only recently invested in the medium. Twitter, which recently launched an Apple TV app specifically for live streaming video, has also struck deals with the NFL, Wimbledon and the Pac 12 Network.