Roku: 20 Million Households Streamed Election News on Platform

SVOD pioneer Roku Nov. 18 disclosed that households with an estimated 20 million people streamed election news across the platform’s advertising-supported news channels, including directly on The Roku Channel. A nationwide survey of more than 2,000 U.S. adults, conducted by The Harris Poll for Roku prior to the elections, found that more than 8 out of 10 (83%) surveyed likely voters reported being streamers.

“TV streaming democratizes access to content and nowhere have we seen this trend come into play more than with the ability for millions of Americans to access free news at their convenience via their streaming platform,” Ashley Hovey, director of AVOD for Roku, said in a statement.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

On Election Day in particular an estimated 12 million viewers streamed their news on the Roku platform for free. More than half of those streaming news on the Roku platform on Election Day tuned directly to The Roku Channel from partners including ABC News Live, NBC News Now, Cheddar, and the Spanish language América Tevé. Total streaming hours of The Roku Channel’s live linear programming increased more than 500% on Election Day compared to the prior day, breaking all previous single day records for live linear streaming hours on the Roku platform.

The majority of the households that streamed news across the Roku platform also skewed younger with nearly two-thirds (62%), including people in the coveted 18- to 49-year-old advertising demographic.

This data mirrors the broader election year trend reported by Nielsen, which found a significant change in how Americans consumed Election Day news in 2020. According to Nielsen, linear viewership dropped 35% on Election Day compared to 2016, while streaming increased by 499%.

“The desire to access live and breaking news is no longer holding audiences to traditional pay TV the way it once did,” Hovey said. “Millions of Americans have now discovered new ways to access quality news programming for free, which we believe will only further the migration towards a streaming-first television world.”

‘West Wing’ Cast to Reunite for Voting Benefit Special on HBO Max Oct. 15

A “West Wing” reunion to benefit Michelle Obama’s When We All Vote organization will  premiere on HBO Max on Oct. 15, two weeks prior to the national election.

The special marks the first time in 17 years that the original cast of the Emmy- and Peabody Award-winning Warner Bros. Television drama series will come together with creator Aaron Sorkin and executive producer-director Thomas Schlamme for a special theatrical stage presentation of the “Hartsfield’s Landing” episode from the show’s third season. “The West Wing” stars Rob Lowe, Dulé Hill, Allison Janney, Janel Moloney, Richard Schiff, Bradley Whitford and Martin Sheen will reprise their roles from the episode.

The special will include act breaks with guest appearances from When We All Vote co-chair Michelle Obama, President Bill Clinton and Lin-Manuel Miranda. Emmy Award–winning composer W.G. Snuffy Walden will play the iconic score for “The West Wing.” Folk rock band The Avett Brothers will also close out the special.

The creative team and cast organized the production to raise awareness for and support When We All Vote, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that was founded to increase participation in every election in America. In honor of the special, WarnerMedia will make a donation to When We All Vote.

The production will strictly follow COVID Safe Way Forward Protocols.

Spanning seven seasons, “The West Wing” provided a behind-the-scenes look at the lives of an eclectic group of frenzied staffers in the Oval Office and the West Wing of the White House. Emmy winner Sorkin created the series and served as an executive producer with Emmy winners Thomas Schlamme and John Wells (“ER,” “Shameless”). “The West Wing” won 27 Primetime Emmy Awards (including one for The West Wing: Documentary Special), two Peabody Awards, two Humanitas Prizes, two Golden Globe Awards, seven Screen Actors Guild Awards, two Writers Guild of America Awards, two Directors Guild of America Awards, and five Television Critics Association Awards, among many others.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

In the “Hartsfield’s Landing” episode, original air date Feb. 27, 2002, Bartlet (Martin Sheen) engages both Sam (Rob Lowe) and Toby (Richard Schiff) in intricate chess matches that mirror the wily game of brinksmanship that Bartlet is playing with the Chinese, who are conducting war games in the Taiwan Strait. The Chinese threaten real war if Taiwan begins test firing its new U.S.-made Patriot defense missiles. Meanwhile, Josh (Bradley Whitford) is nervous about the 42 votes in a remote New Hampshire town’s election, which are counted immediately and always predict the winner of that state’s primary. Mischievous C.J. (Allison Janney) tries to upset Charlie (Dulé Hill) by hiding his copy of the President’s top-secret daily schedule — prompting a spate of playful tricks. The episode was written by Aaron Sorkin and directed by Vincent Misiano.

Follow us on Instagram

When We All Vote is a national, nonpartisan, nonprofit launched by co-chair Michelle Obama in 2018 on a mission to change the culture around voting by bringing together citizens, institutions, brands, and organizations to increase participation in every election. They are also on a mission to close the race and age voting gap and empower all eligible voters to cast their ballot by harnessing grassroots energy, establishing strategic partnerships, and implementing digital organizing strategies. Learn more here.

Election Doc ‘Win, Lose, or Draw Straws’ Due on Digital Oct. 13 From Virgil

The documentary Win, Lose, or Draw Straws will come out on Digital HD Oct. 13 from Virgil Films.

The feature exposes one particular oddity of the U.S election system, the increasing existence of and wildly varied ways of determining elections that end in perfect ties. Told by the people who experienced the emotional highs and lows of a political campaign that was determined by a random game of chance and exposing the way random luck affects our lives from local races all the way to the White House, the film travels the country to uncover the most peculiar election tiebreakers in American history, while exposing the backroom dealing and insider trading of local politics.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

Along the way viewers meet colorful characters who have participated in, worked on, and voted or not voted in real elections that ended in perfect ties. They meet the woman who lost a bowl-drawing in Virginia that shifted the power of government and nearly installed a new governor. The documentary also delves into the Mississippi house election that swung the supermajority control after being reversed three times. It also investigates the coin flips between Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton in the 2016 Iowa caucus.

Coupled with historical context from the presidential campaign of 1800 to the 2000 Bush-Gore debacle in Florida, and the 2016 Iowa and Nevada caucus coin flips and high-card draws, the documentary explores important themes such as why people want to seek office in the first place and the cultural perceptions of luck, destiny and America itself.

Win, Lose, or Draw Straws from Virgil Films on Vimeo.