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Mobile Minute: Mobile Accelerates as Viewing Platform for 2020 Democratic Primary Debates

Lexi Sydow

Analysis of CNN News mobile app during fourth debate airing shows dramatic 1069 jump in the daily downloads rankings.

What’s Happening: 

On Oct. 15, 2019 CNN and the New York Times co-hosted the fourth Democratic Primary debate for the upcoming 2020 election. The debate hosted 12 Democratic candidates and according to CNN, drew 9.2 million live viewers across CNN and The New York Times’ digital platforms. The CNN News app saw a surge of downloads in the US — rising from outside the top 1000 apps overall by daily iPhone downloads on Sunday, Oct. 13, 2019 to landing just outside the top 100 the day of the debate. An analysis of recent Democratic Primary Debates, shows how mobile is increasingly becoming a primary source of information and platform for viewership among Americans.

Why It Matters:

CNN News saw a spike in US app downloads across the two days the second Democratic Primary debate on July 30 - 31, 2019 resulting in a 240% increase in average daily downloads compared to the month prior. Notably, CNN News also saw a sustained lift during the week after the second debate, resulting in 110% greater daily downloads than the 28 days leading up to the debates. The message is clear: Americans are turning to mobile to stay informed on the upcoming 2020 Presidential Elections.

In advance of the 2020 debates and in an effort to engage young voters, Snapchat has created a curated “Democratic Primary Debate Channel.” In Q3 2019, Snapchat was the #6 downloaded app in the US and #8 globally, and during this time frame, Gen Z iPhone users in the US — those aged 16-24 — were 90% more likely to use Snapchat than the average user overall. By over-indexing with Gen Z, Snapchat provides a valuable platform for Democratic primary candidates to engage with young, mobile-native voters. 

Go Deeper:

As Americans become increasingly interested in the approaching 2020 election landscape, mobile has continued to emerge as the primary source of information, especially for younger voters. In addition to expanded viewership through live streaming, mobile also provides a channel for larger audiences to engage in wider conversations through social media.

For a deeper dive on mobile’s disruption of the media industry check out our 2019 State of Mobile Report

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This post is the latest in a Mobile Minute series that features App Annie’s perspective on how mobile is impacting current events and consumer trends. Check in weekly for our take on the latest news cycles and how mobile transformation is shaping industries around the world.

October 17, 2019

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