Academy blog

Decision ’16: Twitter v. Facebook?

Ever since the Kennedy v. Nixon debates in the 1960’s, the race for the American presidency has been uniquely televised. Broadcasting prospective candidates declaring their qualifications for office is just the modern incarnation the same democratic spirit behind the famed Lincoln-Douglas debates before the U.S. Civil War. That same spirit of democracy, empowering and interconnecting people, is the driving force behind the popularity of social media, so it’s only natural that the two would pair.

On September 21, it was announced that Twitter, after webcasting its inaugural Thursday Night Football feed, would also carry live post-debate coverage for Bloomberg following the first of the three debates leading up to the U.S. Presidential Election on November 8. In past elections, Twitter was a popular destination for potential voters to laud, or decry the individuals behind the lecterns – the first debate of the 2012 election cycle between incumbent President Barack Obama and challenger Mitt Romney was the subject of some 10 million tweets, according to Fortune. So it is only fitting that Twitter is trying to position itself as the go-to destination for live debate coverage, and live webcasting in general.

Twitter is not alone. Live content is a rapidly growing sector for the OTT industry, and arch-rival Facebook is not sitting idly by and letting Twitter become synonymous with webcasting. The social media giant led by Mark Zuckerberg announced on September 20 that they would carry post-debate coverage for ABC News, as they had done this summer for the respective Democratic and Republican Party Conventions.

The debate proper will be live streamed by numerous news organizations and available via cable and broadcast television as well. The Commission on Presidential Debates, which organizes the debates and “presides” over how they are distributed is particularly satisfied with this year’s embrace of technology. Linking social media providers like Facebook and Twitter with established journalistic endeavors like ABC News and Bloomberg are part of the Commission’s desire to reach young voters on their mobile devices. (For instance, this author tuned into a webcast provided by the New York Times after he noticed it while scrolling through the Facebook app on his iPhone.)

Delivering live content of any variety can be difficult. Flawless streams are the best way to attract new users and keep existing ones. NPAW’s latest white paper, The Challenges of Streaming Live Sporting Events addresses specific issues, and provides insights into improving the overall quality of live playbacks. The white paper is available for free download here.


Just another thing to think about from us here at NPAW.

James Noeker on September 29th 2016

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