YouTube to Live-Stream GOP, Dem Conventions in 360-Degree Video, Facebook to Host Media Lounges

YouTube - 2016 Republican National Convention
via YouTube/Republican National Committee

The two biggest online-video players, YouTube and Facebook, are diving into the political fray with plans to bring live video feeds from both the 2016 Republican and Democratic national conventions to their platforms.

YouTube is reprising its role as the official live-stream provider of both the Republican National Convention, which runs from July 18-21 in Cleveland, and the Democratic National Convention, which will take place July 25-28 in Philadelphia. The Google-owned video giant was also the official streamer for the parties’ 2012 presidential nominating confabs.

This year, for the first time, YouTube will live-stream the conventions in 360-degree video — which, depending on your political leanings, is either a thrilling or horrifying prospect. YouTube’s 360 videos provide a wrap-around perspective users can control with their finger on mobile devices or via a mouse cursor on a computer. The live video also will be available to view in virtual reality via Google Cardboard: Are you ready to see Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton in VR?

Facebook also is looking to bring live video from the GOP and Democratic proceedings onto its service. The company will set up a “lounge” in both convention halls and has invited 22 media orgs, including CNN, Fox News and the New York Times, to use the spaces to broadcast live video, a rep said. In addition, C-SPAN plans to use Facebook Live during the conventions from about 8-11 p.m. each night, and Facebook is encouraging convention delegates and individual members of the media to use the service, as well.

Twitter, meanwhile, is teaming with CBS News to live-stream coverage from CBSN, the company’s free broadband-delivered video news service, from both conventions on its platform.

YouTube’s RNC coverage will be streamed at youtube.com/gopconvention and the DNC will be hosted starting July 25 at youtube.com/demconvention. The video service also called out several YouTube channels and creators set to cover the conventions on the platform, including the Young Turks, Complex News, Seeker Daily, Ingrid Nilsen, Mark Watson and Julie Borowski.

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