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James Comey drew half as many Twitter livestreamers as a Thursday night NFL game

On TV, Comey was bigger than the NFL.

James Comey Testifies At Senate Hearing On Russian Interference In US Election Drew Angerer / Getty

Former FBI Director James Comey’s testimony Thursday morning in front of the Senate intelligence committee was a bigger hit on TV than most NFL football games.

Not so much on Twitter.

While the testimony, which Twitter streamed live thanks to a partnership with Bloomberg, generated a lot of tweets, the audience for its livestream averaged 129,000 people at any given time.

That’s around half the audience Twitter got when it streamed the NFL’s “Thursday Night Football” this fall. (The New York Jets and Buffalo Bills stream on Twitter averaged 243,000 viewers, for example.) Twitter says 2.7 million people saw the stream in total.

On television, more than 19.5 million people watched Comey’s testimony at any given time, according to Nielsen.

There are two ways to look at this. We already know that Twitter’s audience is smaller than TV’s, and Twitter was competing with every major television network in America, plus dozens of other livestreams. Not an easy place to stand out.

On the other hand, Comey’s testimony was arguably the most highly anticipated political event in decades. That translated to television, even though it aired during work and commute hours. Comey’s hearing drove larger audiences than your typical NFL game, which averaged just over 16 million viewers a game last year.

It did not translate to Twitter, at least not for streaming, even though that’s where millions of people were talking about the testimony.

This article originally appeared on

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