Sky News Labour Leadership Debates

September 3, 2015


Sky News used Microsoft Pulse to engage its viewers during the September 2015 Labour Leadership debates. Tens of thousands of Britons participated throughout the debate between the four Labour party candidates. In all, over 567,000 votes were cast during the 90-minute debate, and Sky News pushed six content-driven instant poll questions, allowing a deeper look into key moments and themes of the debate. The successful run lead to a standing partnership between Sky News and Microsoft Pulse, with SKY using the technology in subsequent speeches by the incoming Labour Party Leader, Jeremy Corbyn, and the Conservative Leader and UK Prime Minister, David Cameron.


Pulse was used before the debate to survey SKY News audiences on who they believed would win the debate. According to the results, 66.5% of voters believed Jeremy Corbyn would outperform the other contenders.

During the debate, Sky News used Pulse to report viewer reaction in real time and displayed voter sentiment as a lower-third graphic throughout the live debate. The Pulse data API was integrated directly into the Sky News graphics system.

Sky News anchors devoted a significant portion of their immediate post-debate analysis to the results of their Pulse. The response graph was displayed on the Sky News “big screen,” as Senior Political Correspondent Sophy Ridge recapped the candidates’ performances and analyzed high and low points of agreement among Pulse participants. Voters’ input became a valuable piece of Sky News’s debrief, and Pulse insights were paired with video clip highlights of the debate.

Sky News also used Pulse to run a post-debate survey on who had won. Coming out of the event 81% of viewers answered Jeremy Corbyn, 6% Yvette Cooper, 7% Liz Kendall, and 4% Andy Burnham.

Jeremy Corbyn later went on to win the Labour party nomination. Pulse was implemented during his inaugural conference speech, and Sky News has continued to drive insights using Microsoft Pulse since then.


The following day, Sky News shared an infographic via social media in order to share the findings and continue the conversation. The infographic contained the entire debate’s Pulse results, annotated with insights, and reached 2.7 million Twitter followers.

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