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Sky News and Microsoft’s Bing Pulse to continue partnership

After providing viewers with insight into the Labour Leadership debate last week, Sky News and Microsoft’s Bing Pulse have announced they will continue to work together to provide audience feedback and sentiment tracking around key debates and events in the future.

The partnership between Sky News and Microsoft’s Bing Pulse allowed thousands of viewers to participate in last week’s debate between the four candidates.

Sky News viewers were able to respond instantly to the candidates and their policy proposals, voting continuously every five seconds to share whether they agreed or disagreed with what was being said. The results were displayed in real time, giving Sky News viewers an unprecedented insight into the public reaction as the debate unfolded. In total over 567,000 votes were submitted over the course of the debate.

John McAndrew, director of Sky News output said: “At Sky News we are constantly looking for new ways to innovate on screen and our partnership with Microsoft’s Bing Pulse helped us do exactly that. Sky News viewers were not only able to have their say on the debate, but also see the public reaction to what was being said in real time.”

Dritan Nesho, director of Microsoft’s Bing Pulse technology, said: “The Sky News live voting experience marks the entrance of Bing Pulse in the UK media market. We believe this powerful technology will revolutionize audience response and second screen engagement in Britain. During the debate everyone was able to participate and have a voice, and to gauge the reactions of their peers instantaneously.”

Key insights from the audience response to the final debate included:

– Overall, Jeremy Corbyn dominated the viewers’ response to the debate. On domestic issues, viewers expressed high agreement when Corbyn challenged austerity measures, stated that private investment in the UK had failed, and supported an expanded public sector role. In foreign policy they agreed with his disappointment over the handling of the Iraq War and when Corbyn advocated that the UK needs to undergo deep defence and strategic policy reviews.

– Yvette Cooper received the second highest level of viewer support. Viewers reacted favourably when she stated that the UK needs strong, pro-European leaders, when she said ‘No’ to boots on the ground in Syria, and when she advocated that bank shares purchased by the government as part of the 2008 bailouts are made available for public investment. Viewers disagreed with Cooper, in particular when she stated that the way to get SNP and UKIP voters back to the Labour Party is to instill Labour solidarity and look inward.

– Liz Kendall received the third highest response. Viewers responded positively when she advocated meaningful reform in education, but were less favourable in their reactions when she said the UK needs to remain engaged within Europe.

– Andy Burnham came in last in numbers of votes. Viewers agreed with Burnham when he stated the Labour party has drifted away from its voters, but responded negatively early on when Burnham discussed whether or not he would sacrifice his principles to win.

– In the final tally of who viewers thought had won the debate, Jeremy Corbyn came in at 81 per cent, Yvette Cooper at 6 per cent, Liz Kendall at 7 per cent, and Andy Burnham at 4 per cent.