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Akamai: Election Night Streaming Up by Double Compared to 2016

CBS election coverage
(Image credit: Mary Kouw/CBS Broadcasting)

CAMBRIDGE, Mass.—Akamai has revealed live news streaming traffic on the day of the U.S. election was more than five-times greater than on an average day, and up by more than double the 7.5 Tbps peak the company observed during the 2016 Election night, which set a record at the time for the largest single news event that Akamai delivered.

Preliminary data shows live news streaming traffic peaked at approximately 18 Tbps on Akamai’s Intelligent Edge platform this year.

According to Harish Menon,—who is senior director, Global Broadcast Operations and Customer Events at Akamai—the spike in traffic between 2016 and 2020 was due to a number of factors, not least the interest around the world in the election.

“Also, more consumers than ever are streaming video, a trend that’s gained even greater momentum this year because of pandemic-related safety measures that are keeping people at home,” said Menon. “Finally, not only are more people streaming video; they’re enjoying higher levels of picture quality compared to four years ago, which is delivered at higher bitrates—meaning more data.”

Inversely, Nielsen reported that traditional TV ratings for election night coverage were down from 2016 numbers.