Twitter (NYSE:TWTR) has formed a partnership with Bloomberg Media to livestream the general election debates. Bloomberg Media is Twitter’s exclusive streaming partner for the debates. Bloomberg Media CEO Justin B. Smith said in a statement, “We are thrilled to extend our partnership with Twitter to include our coverage of the U.S. presidential debates during this unprecedented and remarkable U.S. election.” The companies previously announced a partnership to stream Bloomberg Television programs in July.
This is the first time Twitter is hosting a live video feed of a presidential debate. A stream of related tweets will be displayed side-by-side with the live video feed. The stream will be available on Twitter Moments and Bloomberg’s Twitter account, as well as on debates.twitter.com, which will go live closer to the debates.
Twitter and Bloomberg will also stream 30 minutes of programming before and after the 90-minute debates featuring analysis from members of the Bloomberg Politics team. The companies will split revenue from ads in the pre- and post-debate coverage.
Twitter has already become a go-to destination for political news and discussion. The campaigns of Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump have sparred on Twitter on a regular basis. Anthony Noto, Twitter’s chief financial officer, said in a statement, “Livestreaming 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.”
CEO Jack Dorsey and his executive team aims to turn Twitter into a more valuable destination for live content. During the first 2012 presidential debate, 67.2 million people watched on TV at home and 10 million tweets were sent, making it the most watched and tweeted in history. Twitter previously streamed the Republican and Democratic national conventions through a partnership with CBSN, which owned the streaming rights. The viewership and tweet data around the conventions was not released.
Early appraisals of Twitter’s live-streaming experience have been mostly positive. Twitter has snared a string of live-video distribution deals over the past few months, including a deal with the NFL for 10 “Thursday Night Football” games. According to Twitter, the first “TNF” stream on Sept. 15 drew about 2.3 million unique viewers worldwide (including pre- and postgame coverage).