While we were debating whether there would be a Trump TV and how it might happen, a funny thing happened Wednesday night: it started. At least, a prototype of what it might look like was on Facebook Live, on Trump’s Facebook page. It carried the debate live, with Trump analysts on a set before and after the debate.
This is along the lines of what we’ve guessed a Trump TV would be: nimble, surprising, low-budget and easy to deploy. There was no warning this would appear and, to be fair, using Facebook Live was a clever choice. The presentation didn’t carry a “Trump TV” brand, but it was clear it was his show.
During the debate, there were around 170,000 simultaneous streams at any given time, with more than 350,000 comments flying furiously. (They were decidedly pro-Trump.) The video was shared nearly 45,000 times by the end of the debate. UPDATE: As of Thursday morning, the stream had nearly nine million views, 500,000 comments and 80,000 shares.
The quality of the program itself was subpar. There were lighting issues, poor direction, soft focus, sound problems and the anchors seemed lost at times. At the end of the debate, the program switched to an empty set, then back to the stage, then to the set again—where we saw the anchors still setting up.
But none of that will matter to his audience. They got a taste of what could be. They had anchors who, immediately after the debate, said “This was a home run for Donald Trump” and “He perfectly prosecuted the case against Hillary Clinton.” And there’s that lower third banner: “ALERT: TRUMP WINS FINAL DEBATE.” You can safely bet a banner saying Hillary won was not on standby.
Expect more of this. As his team considers whether to make a full-on Trump TV, the tools to have a “pop-up” channel are already out there. It’s inexpensive and easy to produce a live, polished event. Trump can choose his “anchors,” and not worry about any analysis that criticizes him.