Joining what seems to be a growing trend for online political outlets, the social publishing pioneers at BuzzFeed ventured into new territory last evening (April 24), teaming up with Comedy Central’s Indecision team to livestream Tuesday night's Republican primary returns.
Billed as #UnSuperTuesday, the one-hour webcast poked fun at the anti-climactic nature of the evening's primaries, with Mitt Romney already cemented as the presumptive nominee. Situated at a bare bones table surrounded by laptops, Comedy Central’s editorial producer for Indecision, Mary Phillips-Sandy, joined BuzzFeed editor in chief Ben Smith and political reporter and Twitter addict Zeke Miller for 60 minutes of lo-fi (audio problems left viewers to deal with an echo problem for the first 15 minutes) analysis.
The broadcast was reminiscent of Politico’s early attempts at live video content, with little in the form of flash and visuals and more emphasis on raw political commentary. Despite attempts from Phillips-Sandy to venture into snarkier conversation, Smith seemed to direct the conversation, providing sound analysis suitable for wonks and casual political observers alike.
Throughout the night much of the livestream featured Phillips-Sandy, Miller, and Smith interacting with their social audience on Twitter, taking questions indexed with the hashtag #UnSuperTuesday and addressing a wide array of topics—ranging from Mitt Romney’s ability to generate page views (spoiler: not very good), BuzzFeed’s access level on the campaign trail, and how many Bruce Springsteen CDs Mitt Romney would have to burn to lose a New Jersey primary (spoiler: a lot).
As online properties like Politico and the Huffington Post continue to beef up their live election coverage, focusing on their larger reporting staffs, BuzzFeed demonstrated its natural ability to leverage the social conversation by garnering roughly 600 #UnSuperTuesday mentions on Twitter and bringing its audience into the fray. One Twitter user summed it up perfectly during the broadcast: “This is why these livestreams work and are fun, they interact with social audience.”
All told, the night appears to be a success for both BuzzFeed and Comedy Central. Via email Smith told Adweek, “Last night’s primaries were a perfect chance for us to work with Comedy Central whose intelligence and humor make them a natural partner for us.”