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Twitter to Live-Stream Bloomberg’s Presidential Debate Broadcasts

You’ll be able to watch Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton mix it up in the 2016 U.S. presidential debates this fall on Twitter — alongside a real-time tweet-stream of reactions and commentary.

Twitter will stream Bloomberg Television’s live broadcast of the 2016 U.S. presidential and VP debates, under an exclusive agreement that expands its pact with Bloomberg Media announced in July to stream select TV programs on the social service.

In addition to the debates themselves, Twitter will carry special Bloomberg Politics programming 30 minutes before and after each debate anchored by Bloomberg Politics managing editors Mark Halperin and John Heilemann. The companies will split revenue from ads in the pre- and post-debate coverage.

On Twitter, the video will be paired with a scrolling list of related tweets automatically culled from the service. Expect those to be laced with witticisms, sarcasm, and attacks on and support for each candidate, along with instant fact-checking.

Facebook, meanwhile, has an exclusive deal with ABC News to live-stream the four debates and related coverage. Both social outlets see such live content as key to attracting users — and keeping them engaged longer.

Twitter has snared a string of live-video distribution deals over the past few months, with the NFL pact for 10 “Thursday Night Football” games its highest-profile programming to date. Twitter’s first “TNF” stream on Sept. 15 drew about 2.3 million unique viewers worldwide (including pre- and postgame coverage), with an average audience of 243,000 during the game.

The Twitter debate live-streams will be available globally at debates.twitter.com, in Twitter Moments and via Bloomberg’s @bpolitics account. The first debate is scheduled for Monday, Sept. 26, followed by the VP debate between Tim Kaine and Mike Pence on Oct. 4, with Clinton and Trump set for two more debates, on Oct. 9 and 19.

Additional Bloomberg Politics debate coverage on Twitter will include special editions of “With All Due Respect” (5-6 p.m. Eastern) shot live on location and hosted by Halperin and Heilemann, as well as short-form digital videos.

Politics are a hot topic on Twitter: Overall, tweets sent during both the first Democratic and Republican primary debates in 2016 received over 1 billion impressions. According to Twitter, more than half of all tweets related to the 2016 election are from users 25 and younger. For the first presidential debate in 2012, Twitter users posted about 10 million tweets.

“Twitter is where the 2016 presidential election is happening every single day,” said Anthony Noto, Twitter’s chief financial officer. “Live-streaming the debates with Bloomberg combined with the live commentary and conversation on Twitter will create a one-screen experience at the center of the action unlike any other.”

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