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CNN to provide presidential debate feed to other broadcasters

Composite photo of Donald Trump, Joe Biden
Former President Donald Trump (left) and President Joe Biden. (Photos by Gage Skidmore)

Warner Bros Discovery’s (WBD) cable network CNN will provide a live feed of its presidential debate to other broadcasters, a network spokesperson confirmed late last week.

The cooperation with rival broadcasters follows a similar decision made by ABC News to provide a live video feed of its presidential debate to other news outlets.

The CNN debate will be held on June 27, while the ABC News debate is scheduled for early September. Neither debate involves the non-partisan Commission on Presidential Debates, an independent organization that has produced every election year forum between the leading presidential candidates since 1988.

The debates were announced after President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump affirmed their willingness to participate. Both are the presumed nominee for their respective party. The forums are scheduled much earlier than when the Commission on Presidential Debates typically host them, which typically occurs in October.

The Commission on Presidential Debates has long offered a raw video feed that all broadcast and cable networks were able to use, without restriction. Over the last few election cycles, the same feed was offered to satellite news-gathering services like the Associated Press and Reuters, international channels like BBC News and Sky News, and online platforms like the New York Times, the Washington Post and USA Today.

Until recently, only ABC News offered the same guarantee that its presidential debate could air on other networks. CNN affirmed the same on Friday, likely due to mounting pressure from the campaigns themselves, who want the forums viewed by as many people as possible.

The lack of exclusivity on both networks means the debates will likely see higher overall viewership than they would otherwise. Less clear is whether the networks will impose post-debate restrictions on the use of video clips of the event.

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About the Author:

Matthew Keys

Matthew Keys is a nationally-recognized, award-winning journalist who has covered the business of media, technology, radio and television for more than 11 years. He is the publisher of The Desk and contributes to Know Techie, Digital Content Next and StreamTV Insider. He previously worked for Thomson Reuters, the Walt Disney Company, McNaughton Newspapers and Tribune Broadcasting.
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