MEDIA

CNN To Stream GOP Debate For Free

There is no escape.

Say you're a cord-cutter without a cable subscription. Where can you get your live political theater? CNN has you covered.

CNN has announced that it will stream its upcoming Republican debate on Sept. 16 for free, meaning no cable account authentication will be required to view the debate online or via its mobile app.

"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," Andrew Morse, head of U.S. editorial operations and worldwide digital at CNN, told Mashable.

The network anticipates record viewership for the event, given that the 24 million viewers of last month's debate broke records for Fox News.

The announcement of open streaming comes on the heels of reports that CNN is charging as much as 40 times its usual rates for advertising slots during the debate, with the Los Angeles Times reporting a 30-second spot is going "in the range of $150,000" and AdAge putting that number as high as $200,000. And the move offers the network another way to deliver eyeballs to advertisers. "We're digitally inserting ads into the CNNgo experience, which offers additional revenue," a network source told Multichannel News.

The debate airs Sept. 16 at 8 p.m., and the free preview will run from 6 to 11 p.m.