People have been talking about the potential for online streaming to dismantle the television industry for years now, but the latest viewership data from Sunday’s presidential debate indicates that this change could be coming sooner than we may have expected.
According to a new report from Wired, debate content accumulated a total of 124 million views on Alphabet Inc.’s (GOOGL - Analyst Report) YouTube video platform. In comparison, the debate saw about 63 million television viewers.
For whatever reason, viewers are becoming more and more interested in consuming content like the presidential debates in the formats that YouTube offers. Wired points out that the average viewer watched YouTube’s debate livestream for 25 minutes, and it should be noted that YouTube watchers can easily consume short clips and highlights too.
Altogether, viewers watched a total of 2.5 million hours of YouTube’s livestream, Wired reports. On top of this, 3.2 million people tuned into Twitter’s (TWTR - Analyst Report) livestream, while Facebook’s (FB - Analyst Report) broadcast garnered about 7.4 million views.
In many ways, the increased online viewership makes a ton of sense. Speaking personally, I tuned into the debate on PBS, but I had my phone out almost the entire time. Interacting with both friends and strangers on Twitter, Facebook, and Reddit adds another layer of immersion to the viewing experience; it doesn’t seem like much of a leap to start going to these sources to actually stream the debate too.
Of course, YouTube’s total figures will also include international viewers, which skews the data a bit, but the overall point remains true: consumers no longer have to turn on their TVs to keep up with live events like the presidential debates.
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