The first of three presidential debates took place this past Monday, ahead of the presidential election that takes place on November 8th. It was hyped up as one of the biggest debates in recent memory, and it definitely delivered. Nielsen reported that 84 million people watched the debate live on TV. But that wasn't the only place you could watch the debate. YouTube, Twitter and Facebook were all streaming the debate as well. YouTube says that they had 2 million concurrent viewers during the debate on Monday night. Which effectively made it one of the most watched live streams in their history. It also broke every one of their records for political programming.
There were six news organizations that worked with YouTube to live stream the debate this past week, combined, there were over 3 million live watch hours during the debate – which was around 90 minutes long, not counting the pre and post shows. In regards to how this stacked up to the debate from four years ago, between President Obama and Mitt Romney, YouTube had 14 times more live viewers. Additionally, watch time was five times higher and there were four times more peak concurrent viewers. That's a pretty big increase in just four years. But it's also important to point out that there are many more "cord cutters" out there in 2016 than in 2012. Four years ago, many more had cable or a satellite provider, which likely makes these numbers seem a bit higher than they really should be.
Monday night's debate was the first time that Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton went on 1-on-1 and it was about as insane as everyone expected it to be. There are just 41 days left until the election, and two more debates set for October 9th and October 19th. They may not be as watched as the first debate was, but it could be fairly close. There is also the vice presidential debate happening on October 4th, between Mike Pence and Tim Kaine, which should make for an interesting debate as well. Of course, these remaining debates will also be live streaming on YouTube, Twitter and Facebook. At this point, Twitter and Facebook have not released the number of watchers they had for the first debate, but they are likely pretty high as well.