Nets Go Multi-Platform for State of the Union Coverage

Myriad of viewing options available outside of the traditional broadcast
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On Tuesday night, numerous networks will blanket their primetime lineup with coverage of President Obama’s annual State of the Union address.

Though last year’s address still managed to draw in over 33 million viewers spread across 13 different networks, it was the lowest turnout in 14 years. While the networks will hope to break the five-year streak of viewership declines, this year will see a major increase of digital coverage as news nets have new multi-platform toys to play with in the hopes of drawing in younger viewers.

The 9 p.m. ET speech (as well as the Republican response) will be live-streamed on every news outlet’s online platform with many kicking off additional digital coverage at 8 p.m.

Two recent digital offerings in CBS’ 24/7 digital network CBSN and MSNBC’s online video hub The Shift will get to flex their digital muscle. MSNBC will provide live analysis during the speech hosted by Krystal Ball, Dorian Warren and Josh Barro. Before the speech, MSNBC will post behind the scenes photos on its Instagram account. During the speech, Chuck Todd, Andrea Mitchell, Chris Jansing, Kelly O’Donnell, Kristen Welker, and Richard Engel will host a live Q&A on the Meet the Press Facebook page.

Along with simulcasting the speech, CBSN will provide live, anchored coverage following and will repeat the primetime broadcast at 11:00 p.m. ET.

ABC will stream its coverage across on ABCNews.com, Yahoo! News and GoodMorningAmerica.com, as well as its iPad, iPhone and Windows 8 apps. Nightline anchor Byron Pitts will host an 8:45 p.m. preshow on ABCNews.com, while Martha Raddatz and Jonathan Karl will host a 15-minute post-show roundtable. ABC News also partnered with Facebook to display on screen exclusive, real-time information about what's trending on the platform during the president's speech across various demographics.

Fusion — ABC’s co-venture with Univision — will live-stream its coverage on Fusion.net and YouTube (though there will be no talking animals this year). Foxnews.com will feature a live webcast including guest experts and political insiders from its New York headquarters beginning at 8:30 p.m.

CNN’s redesigned CNN.com and mobile app will concurrently host analysis and live coverage of the evening, including a social stream on CNNPolitics.com with commentary and interactive gaming. CNN’s social media accounts will engage with viewers using the #CNNSOTU hashtag, and Peter Hamby’s Hambycast will stream live on CNN.com beginning at 8:30 p.m.

Some digital-only outlets will cover the State of the Union as well. Katie Couric will helm Yahoo News’ coverage at 8 p.m. which will also feature a live-blog. Former Fox News host Glenn Beck will provide a Mystery Science Theatre 3000­-esque live stream on his online network The Blaze (for a charge of $1), where he and two other hosts will comment on Obama’s remarks as its happening.

On Thursday, Obama will also be interviewed by three YouTube personalities — Bethany Mota, GloZell and Hank Green.

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