And now Hillary Clinton has joined the club, with her own video clip posted on her website — on a Saturday morning. And it’s interesting to see how often she uses the theme of having a “conversation” with the American public, and at one point says she will have regular online Q & A sessions.
We know the YouTube effect (or as I like to call it, the Lazy Sunday effect) is in the process of disrupting the network-television business in various ways, but it also seems to be well on its way to disrupting the business of politics as well — and the latest wave in that particular tsunami just rolled ashore with the video launch of Barack Obama’s campaign to become president.
We’ve already seen the effect that videos uploaded to YouTube and other sites can have on the political discourse in both Canada and the U.S., especially when those videos happen to be filmed by soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan, or video clips of dictators being hanged, etc. That’s one aspect of it. And then there’s Senator John Edwards making his pitch using Rocketboom, and having Poptech video-blogger Robert Scoble tag along on his airplane.
Where is all this going? Who the heck knows. But it could definitely get interesting. As usual, the Web disintermediates, or takes out the middleman, and in this case the middleman (or men) are the TV networks and veteran political reporters. In the past, Obama’s pitch — which Rachel Sklar writes about at Eat The Press and Liz Gannes notes at NewTeeVee — would have been filmed and handed to the networks, or done using a favoured anchor such as Tom Jennings. The networks would have made a lot of hay with either one.
Now, they show up on Obama’s website or on YouTube, or both. And as Beet.tv makes clear, this isn’t just a lark by Obama, to show that he “gets it.” The deal with Brightcove — which just announced a financing round of about $50-million — is part of an ongoing video strategy that will involve future campaign videos, an Obama “channel” and the ability for supporters to embed video in their pages. That is huge. And it’s interesting that it’s Brightcove and not Google Video and YouTube.