Swimming Upstream

When CNN hosted their debate on Tuesday, they offered up a "free" stream of the debate to those people that did not have cable or access to their TV.

And while a big company like CNN should be able to offer and uninterrupted streaming experience, that did not happen. 

More than 15 million Americans watched the debate on their TVs, but those trying to stream the debate were in for a frustrating night.

The Sacramento Bee writes that in a grave disservice to the electoral process, CNN limited free viewing of the debate to a live stream on its website. People with increasingly popular Internet-service-only subscriptions to Comcast’s Xfinity and AT&T’s U-verse, for example, were out of luck using the CNNgo app. 

Compounding the problem: The free live stream of the debate was prone to freezing, choking, stuttering, repeating itself and refusing to load, all of which prompted thousands — perhaps hundreds of thousands — of angry tweets and Facebook posts. 

And yet the demand was there. CNN says its live stream peaked at almost 1 million concurrent viewers, topping the network’s numbers for last month’s GOP debate, which peaked at 921,000.

It’s further proof that so-called “cord cutting” is a real thing — one that has caused plenty of handwringing among TV networks and providers, as Hulu, Netflix and Amazon gain ground.

CNN might have hoped that the debate would make some of the viewers that sampled the network regular CNN viewers, it did more to piss them off, if they were trying to watch online.