Cable cord-cutters nationwide can rejoice Tuesday before the first Democratic presidential debate of the 2016 election cycle, which will be hosted by CNN and Facebook. The cable news network will offer its subscription live stream service for free online when the debate airs at 8:3o p.m. EDT.
The live stream of the debate will be offered online on CNN.com's homepage, on the CNN Politics' live blog and across mobile platforms, in addition to the television stations CNN, CNN International and CNN en Español. Westwood One News will air the debate live through their broadcast radio stations as well. To watch the live stream, click here.
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will be placed at the front of the stage since she leads in the polls. She will be joined on the stage by Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, former Virginia Sen. Jim Webb, former Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee and former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley. CNN invited Vice President Joe Biden to the debate, but he has not entered. The vice president can join the stage should he choose anytime before it airs, according to CNN.
Network officials told Mashable before CNN's GOP debate Sept. 16 that the free live stream option will serve to introduce users to the service. “We are offering this as a preview. To me, there's a longer play here, which is that we want our audiences to know this is a service they can get from CNN going forward. We want to build that user behavior," said Andrew Morse, head of US editorial operations and worldwide digital at CNN.
For the first time, the debate will also be offered in 3-D. CNN partnered with technology startup NextVR for those who want to view the debate in "virtual reality," according to the cable news network.
"Viewers will be able to experience the debate in the immersive 3-D format of virtual reality," CNN said in a statement. "This will be the first time someone will be able to experience the thrill of a presidential debate from the comfort of his or her home."
The debate will be held at Wynn Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. CNN anchor Anderson Cooper was tapped as the forum's scheduled moderator, and chief political correspondent Dana Bush and CNN en Espanol anchor Juan Carlos Lopez will also ask questions.