Convention Coverage Revolution?

Presidential nominating conventions have long been the purview of the traditional broadcast and cable news networks. However, 2016 could be remembered as a turning point in the way national political events are televised.

Online providers are seeking to take viewers beyond linear-TV’s coverage schedules and predictable rotating panels of analysts, experts and historians. This year, for the first time, audiences will have extensive access to live coverage of the Republican and Democratic national conventions via a spectrum of social media, apps and other digital platforms. And that represents an opportunity for a more diverse chorus of voices to be heard.

On Monday, we mentioned Twitter’s plan to provide gavel-to-gavel coverage.  Now BitTorrent Live, the recently unveiled multichannel TV app, will launch BitTorrent News at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, which starts July 18.

BitTorrent News

In its official announcement, BitTorrent News promises to “offer a welcome independent voice on all the news from the convention.” Bit Torrent News’ 10 to 12 hours of live daily programming will include “play-by-play commentary on all developments and speeches,” along with guest analysis. The news team will consist of several former Al-Jazeera journalists, including Michael Shure (Al-Jazeera America) and James Reinl (Al-Jazeera English).

“Television news has been stagnating for some time,” offered Erik Schwartz, vice president of Media for BitTorrent, Inc. “It’s having trouble appealing to a generation that grew up online. We’re building BitTorrent News to solve that problem.”

“We are marrying the Internet’s principles of open access to information with society’s need for unfettered – and unfiltered – access to news,” added Jeremy Johnson, BitTorrent’s co-CEO.

BitTorrent News will be available on the multichannel app, BitTorrent Live.  You can learn more here.

BitTorrent News isn’t the only one joining the political parties.

Video behemoth YouTube promised on its blog to give viewers a more visceral experience with a live, 360-degree visual perspective of both conventions, “so you’ll feel what it’s like to be in the center of the action.”  Its ‘news’ team will consist of popular YouTube creators including The Young Turks, Complex News, Seeker Daily, Ingrid Nilsen, Mark Watson and Julie Borowski, using mobile live streaming and Google’s Jump VR cameras.  Coverage will be complemented with reports from other “news organizations.”

You’ll be able to catch the Republican convention at youtube.com/gopconvention, starting July 18, and the DNC beginning July 25 at youtube.com/demconvention.

Finally, Politico reports that Facebook has invited more than 20 prominent media organizations, including Fox News, CNN and The New York Times, to avail themselves of specially created-lounge space it’s providing at the convention for live video broadcasting. C-SPAN also will live-stream coverage via Facebook Live.

And in this year of grass-roots politics, Facebook is encouraging delegates and other convention attendees to use their smartphones to stream their own coverage on its ‘Live’ platform.

Or as Uncle Sam might say, “I want you to live-stream this convention.”

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About Larry Greenberg

A former local beat reporter and film critic, co-founder Lawrence Greenberg has more than 25 years’ experience as a writer and public relations executive.

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