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Presidential Election Is Largest News Event Delivered by Akamai

The recent U.S. presidential election was the largest news event Akamai Technologies has helped its media customers deliver. On Tuesday, Nov. 8, live video streaming traffic specific to the election peaked at 7.5 Tb/s on the Akamai Platform shortly before midnight Eastern time.

Says Bill Wheaton, executive vice president and general manager of media at Akamai, “In what has already been a record-setting year for live streaming, with the European soccer finals, the Rio Olympics and the recent presidential debates, Akamai has helped our customers deliver unprecedented levels of online video with election coverage.

“Not only are more people watching online in general, they’re watching at higher quality,” Wheaton continues, “which contributes to the increasingly higher peaks in traffic that we’re observing.”

Shane Keats, Akamai’s director of industry marketing, media and entertainment, explains that the company was “tracking peak traffic and peak concurrent viewers across a basket of 16 customers” for the debates and election night. “Peak traffic for the first presidential debate in September was 4.4 Tb/s,” Keats recalls. “Election night was 7.5 Tb/s—an increase of just over 70 percent. To put that into perspective, that’s like watching more than 28,000 episodes of House of Cards in one second.”

“The lesson here is to expect the unexpected,” says Chris Nicholson, senior public relations manager at Akamai. “That certainly goes without saying for this year’s election, and it’s also an excellent rule of thumb for live streaming major events. Planning is critical, and being prepared for surprises is a necessity.”