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Twitter partners with CBS News to live stream convention coverage

TechCrunch TechCrunch 11/07/2016 Sarah Perez

Twitter is expanding upon its live-streaming plans yet again. This morning, Twitter and CBS News announced a new partnership that will see the social media service offering a live stream of the news network’s coverage of the Republican and Democratic National Conventions. Twitter users will be able to watch “wall-to-wall” convention coverage from CBSN, CBS’s digital streaming news service, explains the network in its announcement, and this will be accompanied by live, convention-related tweets, it says.

The streams will be powered by Twitter’s new Live platform – the same platform that recently hosted live coverage of the Wimbledon tournament, in what Twitter called a “test.” The Live product currently features a video window on the left of your computer screen, with a Twitter timeline on the right. On mobile, the video is at the top of the screen, with tweets at the bottom. This format could still be tweaked, however, as the product is being refined.

Wimbledon was a soft-launch for Twitter Live – the live stream link was not heavily promoted on the service, and Wimbledon’s own tweeted link was removed after a bit.

That won’t be the case with the CBS deal, however. Though Twitter isn’t saying how it will present the Twitter Live stream to its users, a spokesperson for Twitter told Wired that the link won’t be hard to find. It’s likely that Twitter could use its “Moments” feature to promote the link. CBS will also certainly tweet it out.

The Republican National Convention will be held in Cleveland, Ohio from July 18 through July 21 at the Quicken Loans Arena, while the Democratic National Convention will take place in Philadelphia, Pa., from July 25 through July 28, at the Wells Fargo Center. Presumptive nominees Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, will be sure to give Twitter users and pundits much to discuss and react to during the live streams, which could lead to increased user engagement on Twitter’s service – or at least, that’s Twitter’s hope.

Twitter had partnered before with CBS on presidential debates to offer things like metrics, live tweets, and questions from voters, notes Variety, so this new deal is not surprising.

The move is the latest in Twitter’s growing plans to position itself as a live-streaming service in an effort to grow its stagnating user base. The company currently has plans to livestream Thursday Night Football this fall, thanks to a partnership with the NFL, and is rumored to be talking with the NBA, Major League Soccer and cable giant Turner, for similar deals.

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