CNN To Live Stream September 16th Republican Debate

CNN will make the September 16th Republican Presidential debate available via live streaming over the Internet:

You won’t need to have Trump bucks to watch The Donald in the upcoming debate.

CNN will be streaming its Republican presidential debate on September 16 for free without the need for any cable authentication. The news channel is making the debate available on every platform and device it can — smartphone, tablet and, yes, even boring old cable TV.

Andrew Morse, head of US editorial operations and worldwide digital at CNN, told Mashable that the company sees the broad interest in the debate as a chance to attract new users online.

“We are offering this as a preview. To me, there’s a longer play here, which is that we want our audiences to know this is a service they can get from CNN going forward. We want to build that user behavior,” Morse said.

If the first debate is any indication, CNN is looking at a big opportunity. The debate on Fox News drew a whopping 24 million viewers, shattering the previous record for a party’s presidential debate. The interest was warranted, as Donald Trump put on a memorable performance.

CNN has been looking to maximize its reach on the debate, even pushing it back to 8 P.M. EST from 9 P.M.

To access the stream, users can go to or download the CNN apps on either iOS or Android. It will not, however, be on Apple TV without cable authentication. The stream will only be available in the U.S. and some parts of Canada.

The stream will feature the same feed as CNN’s broadcast but have different advertisements. While regular cable TV viewers will be seeing the same ads — which have reportedly been going for 40 times as much as the usual rate — the online stream will have different ads that are targeted to the user.

It’s unclear if this test will include both the prime time debate and the earlier debate consisting of the five candidates who didn’t get qualified for the main stage, but the main interest will obviously be for the prime time debate. There were some complaints at the time of the Fox News debate in August about an important political debate being restricted to people how had access to cable television. While this comprises a large segment of the country, obviously, the increasing popularity of “cutting the cord” means that many people don’t have access to the cable news networks. While Fox didn’t livestream its debate, it did make the entire debate available online the next day, where it remains even now. CNN is taking the matter a step further, but it seems likely that this is a practice that we’ll see more often in the future given the fact that more and more people are saying goodbye to the cable company.

FILED UNDER: 2016 Election, US Politics, , , , , , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. al-Ameda says:

    CNN will make the September 16th Republican Presidential debate available via live streaming over the Internet:

    Is there a Cloud-based equivalent of a HazMat Team that will be on call for this?

  2. Ron Beasley says:

    Cable TV is a dinosaur on the verge of extinction. Content suppliers are beginning to realize this and are trying to figure out how to adapt. Hardly a day goes by that I don’t get a message from ROKU telling me about new content including my local TV stations.

  3. James Pearce says:

    There should be no reason to restrict it to Top 10 candidates, then.

  4. Mafiaman says:

    Trump for pres??? Ha-Ha!!! You out of your koten – picken mind dude??? Donald, go back to your planet, ok!!!