Election 2016: Live-Streaming Video of Presidential Race Breaks Internet Record

UPDATED: The results of the 2016 U.S. presidential election, which stretched late into the evening before Donald Trump emerged as the winner, set the record as the biggest single live internet event ever carried by content-delivery network provider Akamai Technologies.

Live video streaming traffic specific to the election peaked at 7.5 terabits per second on the Akamai platform shortly before midnight Eastern on Tuesday, Nov. 8, the company said. That beat the previous record of 7.3 Tbps held by this summer’s European soccer finals.

The coverage of the close race between Trump and Hillary Clinton drew a bigger internet audience than any previous news event. For the sake of comparison, live-streaming video of the first debate between Trump and Clinton on Sept. 26 peaked at 4.4 Tbps in September. In 2009, the presidential inauguration of Barack Obama hit a peak of 1.1 Tbps and the 2011 wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton hit 1.3 Tbps.

Live video on election night was available on numerous platforms, including YouTube (via the channels of partners including NBC News, PBS, MTV News, Bloomberg, Telemundo and The Young Turks); Twitter, which hosted BuzzFeed’s “Election Night Live” broadcast; Periscope (used by The Ringer, Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show,” CBS This Morning, Telemundo, Cheddar, SkyNews, Fusion and others); CNN Digital; CBS News’ CBSN; Facebook (whose partners included ABC News, the New York Times, PBS NewsHour, Univision and the Washington Post); USA Today; and Yahoo News.

YouTube said more than a dozen news partners live-streamed election night coverage on the service, delivering 47 million live views, 10 million total watch hours and a peak of 1.7 million concurrent viewers. By peak concurrent viewers that trailed the first and third Trump-Clinton presidential debates, but the Nov. 8 coverage drove more live watch time than all three presidential debates combined.

CNN Digital said it recorded its biggest global audience ever on election day, setting all-time high records in live video with 27.7 million live streams of its “Election Night in America” coverage, peaking at 11:30 p.m. ET on Nov. 8 with 2.34 million concurrent viewers. Total video starts for the day came in at 59 million. CNN.com also notched its most-trafficked day in history, serving 58 million global unique users and 424 million page views of content. On Facebook, CNN saw 76 million interactions, 75 million video views and 41 million Facebook Live views.

NBC News Digital touted its highest total of video starts to date, with more than 120 million on Tuesday into early Wednesday across NBCNews.com, MSNBC.com, NBC News apps, Facebook, YouTube and other online-video platforms. That included more than 46 million video views of NBC News’ Facebook Live red-and-blue states electoral map.

CBSN also said its 2016 election day coverage set new viewership records in every category, drawing a record 19.1 million streams and 11.1 million unique viewers from 12 a.m. ET on Nov. 8 through 4 a.m. ET on Nov. 9. That blew away the online-news service’s prior records of 2.98 million streams and 1.4 million unique viewers for coverage of the first presidential debate. CBSN also set a new hourly viewership record, drawing 1.6 million streams from 11 p.m. to 12 a.m. ET, on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, the Young Turks tallied its largest audience in history with 4.5 million total views over the course of its 13-plus hour broadcast across Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, with a peak concurrent audience on YouTube of 132,979. Previously, TYT’s most-watched event was the first presidential debate with 638,298 views.

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