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Election Night: A streaming upset, and a victory for streaming

Count me among the tech pundits who got last night wrong. I predicted to my colleagues that peak traffic on election night here in the U.S. wouldn't beat the debates. Boy was I wrong!

We've been tracking peak traffic and peak concurrent viewers across a basket of 16 customers for the debates, election night and early next year, Inauguration Day.

Peak traffic for the first Presidential Debate way back in September was 4.4 Tbps. Almost Rio Games size. Just massive. Last night: 7.5 Tbps. An increase of just over 70%.

Election Night- A streaming upset, and a victory for streaming - Figure 1.png

Peak concurrent viewers almost doubled, from 1.8M to 3.35M!

Election Night- A streaming upset, and a victory for streaming - Figure 2.png

So why did I think these numbers would be lower? Because I figured a discrete event like a 90-minute debate would attract a large audience, but that election night, which for broadcasters starts around 4 p.m. and continues for HOURS would draw a steadier audience with less pronounced spikes in viewing.

Well, traffic started high, and just kept going up as a predicted victory for Secretary Clinton turned into an Electoral College romp by Mr. Trump.

Election-specific traffic on the Akamai network hit the 7.5 Tbps peak at 11:53 p.m. Eastern Time. To put that into perspective, that's like watching more than 28,000 episodes of House of Cards in one second.

And it wasn't just election live streaming. Overall traffic across the entire Akamai platform was very high yesterday. To pick a single point in time, at 11:59pm last night, Akamai was peaking at 30 Tbps. At that same time Monday night, we were under 20 Tbps. Maybe the whole world WAS watching.

Final note:

We here in the States have a tradition of saying we're moving to Canada when our preferred candidate loses. Well, this time, that tradition ended up crashing the Canadian Immigration website. Should have been on Akamai!

Election Night- A streaming upset, and a victory for streaming - Figure 4.png

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