Streaming the U.S. presidential debates sets up the future for streaming media

The first live debate between presidential contenders Barack Obama and Mitt Romney took place on Oct. 3 at the University of Denver, and will be followed by two more events throughout the month, in Hempstead, New York, and Boca Raton, Florida, as well as one in Danville, Kentucky, that will pit vice-presidential nominees Joe Biden and Paul Ryan against each other. As usual for these national match-ups, the debates are covered live by the four major broadcast networks, ABC, NBC, CBS, and Fox, as well as cable outlets like CNN and Fox News, all of which rely to one degree or another on their online presences, as well. But what sets the 2012 contest apart, and what will perhaps make it a key turning point in the evolution of streaming media, is how Google, Yahoo and AOL suspended their usual competition for online eyeballs and instead collaborated on streaming the event, becoming a parallel universe of shared media distribution…

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