Commentary

'Trump Video' Searches Soared

I live streamed the second presidential debate on Sunday night, and had my pick of suppliers via YouTube. I picked the NBC News feed and things went off remarkably unremarkably. There was the briefest moment when my live feed had a conniption, and that jarred me into remembering that not long ago, successful live streaming was more of a goal than a reality.

Who were the people watching with me?

Fascinating data from Hitwise, a division of Connexity, indicates that among the streamers, “super Democrats” over-indexed “ultra-conservatives,” 156 to 110. Less fascinating data indicates they were “under age 45” (a 115 index), college grads (137) and a lot of them made over $100,000 a year (126).

All day, millions of us went to Google searching for details on the latest disgusting revelation involving Donald Trump. On Sunday, says John Fetto, Hitwise senior analyst, people looking for “Trump video”  accounted for one in every 2,870 searches resulting in a click to a news or political site. (“Trump tape” accounted for one out of 5,263.)

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Bill Clinton’s sexual history was also a popular topic. “Bill Clinton rape” accounted for one in every 9,038 searches on Sunday; Hitwise says that using that exact search term was entered 19 times more often than a week before. Searching the names of the women who made those allegations against Clinton was also a popular way to blow time.

Who was the most searched figure in the election realm?

That would be Billy Bush, who was on the query list of one in 754.  (Maybe that’s an indication of the troubles to come for “Today,” where he was a host. Billy was hit by a bus.)

Hitwise also reports that about issues themselves--the things debates are supposed to center on--the big winner was the term “carried interest,”  that accounted for one in 8,238 news and political searches on Oct. 9.  That put it just a little ahead of “Paul Ryan heckled” which got one out of 7,967.

Wired says all YouTube videos related to the second debate got 124 million views, up 40% compared to the first one. But all that inclusiveness has the effect of watering down the actual streaming tally. In any event, many millions watched the live stream. On TV, 63 million did, which was down 20%, despite the promise of some truly lurid content.

On Twitter, where I watched part of the first debate, 3.2 million people watched its live stream of Bloomberg’s coverage; on Facebook, partnered with ABC, there were 7.4 million. CNN Digital said it 17 million multi-platform visitors and 14 million starts on digital platforms. Seventy percent were watching on smartphones.  

The Sunday debate disappointed the part of me that arrived expecting a train crash. Instead, it was the first time I ever sensed a kind of malaise about Trump’s wackiness that was stronger than my revulsion. It reminded me of the way I felt in the last year of “The Sopranos,” a kind of well-I-guess-I-have-to-watch-it-to-the-end duty.

Donald Trump has thrived by presenting “episodes” on a regular basis, and we were still discussing one when another came out. It’s been a little like the brief listings that you used to find in TV Guide. “Donald has a shocking attitude about prisoners of war.”  “Donald says a female interviewer attacked him because she was menstruating.” And so on. Stay tuned!

But it’s possible “The Apprentice” buscapade was the episode in which Trump jumped the shark. It was a little too raw to be explained away as the media misinterpreting a remark. It was also the first Trump explosion he didn’t have a hand in putting out to the public.

It made me want to look up “carried interest.”


pj@mediapost.com

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