Skip to Main Content

News & Events

With nearly 2 million concurrent viewers and over 3 million live watch hours, first presidential debate breaks political record

By Kurt Wilms

Group Product Manager

Last night's debate marked the largest political live stream of all time and was one of the biggest live streams in YouTube history. This record-breaking political stream garnered nearly 2 million live concurrent viewers and 3 million live watch hours across the six news organizations that streamed the debate on YouTube.

To put these numbers into context, we took a look at 2012 debate viewership on YouTube. Compared to 2012, last night's debate had 14x larger live viewership, 5x higher watch time, and 4x more peak concurrent viewers. And views on all debate-related videos exceeded 88 million.

Of course YouTube is a global community and people in the U.S. weren’t the only ones watching. Here are the top five countries, in descending order, outside of the U.S. that tuned in live:

  1. Canada
  2. Mexico
  3. Argentina
  4. Australia
  5. New Zealand

And remember, today is Voter Registration Day and YouTube creators along with The Rock, Conan, Bill Maher, and The Chainsmokers want you to head to the polls and #voteIRL.

Up next we’ll see you live from the vice presidential debate on Tuesday, October 4.

Kurt Wilms, Product Lead, Live Streaming at YouTube, recently watched "Fastest Skateboarder Ever!"