Much like most everything else about this year's Presidential election, live video streaming traffic for last night's final debate didn't fit the norm. Whereas viewing numbers typically decline for each consecutive debate, aggregate video traffic for Akamai broadcasters streaming the third matchup between the two candidates was actually slightly higher than the second, peaking at 3.8 Tbps yesterday compared to the 3.6 Tbps peak we observed during the October 9th faceoff.
This time around we also saw streaming traffic build over the course of the contest and peak near the conclusion. That's contrary to the previous two debates, during which traffic peaked right around the halfway mark and then dropped off.
The lesson here is to expect the unexpected. That certainly goes without saying for this year's election, and it's also an excellent rule of thumb for live streaming major events such as the recent debates. Planning is critical and being prepared for surprises is a necessity.
Akamai's Matt Azzarto and Shane Keats earlier this week shared some practical wisdom for delivering high-profile, live events in a Multichannel News article. It's a good read that highlights the importance of the three Ts - transparency, telemetry and talking - in order to execute a successful event.
You can take a look at some of the viewing trends we've observed for all of the debates on Akamai's Elections 2016 page; and we'll have more information to share following election day.
Chris Nicholson is a senior public relations manager at Akamai.