At last, Election Day is here. Tonight tens of millions of Americans will be avidly following the returns. But rather than everyone huddling around their TVs to their favorite TV network to get the updates, tonight there will be an abundance of live streaming from a variety of traditional and digital news outlets, capitalizing on capabilities available from Facebook, YouTube and Twitter. As a result, how Americans keep track of who’s winning will be more varied than ever.
Tonight we’ll see live-streams from digital providers BuzzFeed (on Twitter), Complex News (on YouTube) along with Al Jazeera, Vox, NowThis and OZY (all on Facebook Live). Traditional media companies will be streaming as well, with ABC News, CNN, The Washington Post, NY Times, PBS and Univision all on Facebook Live with Bloomberg, MTV News, NBC News and Telemundo all on YouTube. Not to be left behind, CBSN, which is CBS News’ online news network is streaming at its site all day and Yahoo with Katie Couric will be on this evening as well.
Clearly, having a pay-TV subscription is not required this election cycle to keep current on the results.
While election coverage is well-suited to live-streaming, the reality is that live-streaming is spreading to sports, entertainment, news and other categories as well. Twitter and YouTube have been helping drive this, but the real heavyweight is Facebook. More broadly, video appears to have become priority #1 for Facebook, as evidenced by comments from CEO Mark Zuckerberg and COO Sheryl Sandberg on last week’s Q3 earnings call.
Zuckerberg plunged into his video pitch right at the beginning of his remarks, immediately after summarizing the company’s Q3 revenue and usage numbers. He said, in part, “We’re prioritizing putting video first across our family of apps and taking steps to make it even easier for people to express themselves in richer ways.” He then described a number of Facebook’s video initiatives, starting with Facebook Live.
Recall that 4 years ago Facebook had only just begun to embark on executing on mobile as its top priority. In September, over 92% of users now accessed Facebook on mobile and in Q3 mobile ad revenue accounted for $5.7 billion of the company’s $7 billion total. In other words, when Facebook prioritizes something and marshals its resources, it can achieve huge success. With video now in Facebook’s sights, everyone else in the video ecosystem needs to be paying close attention.
But that’s the long-term. Nearer term, we have an election to pay attention to tonight. And no doubt with a huge array of live-streams to tap into, there will be more diversity in how we learn the results than ever before.