Politics in the United States is getting ready for its next big set of events. Over the next two weeks, both major political parties will meet to nominate who they want to be president. YouTube announced today that has been named the official livestream provider for both the Republican National Convention and Democratic National Convention and for the first time, both meetings will be streamed in 360 degrees.
Starting July 18, the video social network will be broadcasting what it calls “gavel-to-gavel” coverage of everything that’s going on at these conventions. It’s not the first time that YouTube has been named, as the company did similar activities during the 2012 election season. However, this is the first time that viewers will be more immersed in the event thanks to 360-degree videos, meaning you can feel like you’re actually in the crowd chanting for Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton while watching on your phone, Google Cardboard, or any other virtual reality headset.
YouTube has also enlisted help from popular content creators who will be in attendance, such as The Young Turks, Complex News, Seeker Daily, Ingrid Nilsen, Mark Watson, Julie Borowski, and others. These so-called YouTube stars will likely be using livestreaming capabilities that were recently announced at this year’s VidCon.
Today’s news comes amid debate among tech companies about what support they’ll provide the conventions. In light of remarks by presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, Apple announced over the summer that it will not be providing any assistance to that party’s event. Microsoft has also declined to provide financial support to the GOP, but it’ll still help with technical needs. Google opted to remain a part of the Republican National Convention, declining to take a position on Trump’s rhetoric, but beyond today’s news from YouTube, no official word about financial support has been issued.
Scoring both the Republican and Democratic National Conventions is certainly a win for YouTube and an indication that it’s still viewed as a popular place for video, despite growing competition from Facebook, Snapchat, and Twitter. While not named as partners of either party’s convention, it’s quite likely that YouTube’s competitors will still play a role in spreading word about what’s going on at these giant political events.
While YouTube has the infrastructure and creators to put out sufficient coverage of both events, it’s a safe bet that Facebook Live will play a prominent role. Twitter certainly won’t be left out either — although it has already secured broadcast deals with networks and sports teams, being a part of political history would be a great way for it to highlight that it’s about live conversations.
What will be interesting is how many cameras will be positioned around the convention to optimize 360 coverage. Will there be a camera near the podium so viewers can experience what it’s like to speak in front of thousands of the party faithful? Or perhaps views from the crowd or where the candidate’s spouses sit? Maybe outside where rallies and protests are taking place?
YouTube’s coverage of the Republican National Convention starts on July 18 and continues with the Democratic National Convention on July 25.