How the parties are turning to the web…

This is definitely turning into the first YouTube election. That’s not Slugger talking, it’s the line from the BBC Newline programme (about 14 mins in). They feature the Reverend Billy video and notes only that some people had a problem with it (no mention of the role Slugger’s readers played in beta testing it, even though they knew about it). Elsewhere, Jeff Jarvis notes why YouTube and online are the way to go…

Update: Mark Devenport has a useful update on the story… (we were starting to feel just a bit invisible there)

The days of doing business by telling customers what they cannot do are nearing an end. If your customers want to watch your shows, listen to your songs, read your news, or play your games, can you still get away with telling them they cannot unless they come to you and use your devices, pay your fees, and follow your rules? That could work in a scarcity economy in which you owned all the stuff and the means to get it. But no more. Business isn’t about control any more.

And neither is politics, though it may take some more than putting up a few YouTube clips to learn that tough lesson. He continues…

Take Viacom. The American media giant – owner of MTV, Comedy Central, iFilm, Paramount, and much more – followed the old rules this month when it demanded that YouTube take down 100,000 clips that viewers had put up there. Mind you, Viacom was quite within its rights, for it controls the copyright to that content. And as a content creator myself, I’m no foe of copyright. It’s also clear that this is a negotiating move on Viacom’s part.

Still, it wasn’t a smart move. And here’s why: the evening before Viacom’s announcement, my teenage son and webmaster brought his laptop to the dinner table – yes, that is what life is like in the home of bloggers – and showed me a YouTube clip of his hero, Bill Gates, being interviewed by my hero, comic Jon Stewart, on Comedy Central’s faux news, The Daily Show. My son had never watched Stewart. Nor does he ever channel-surf the TV. The only – only – way he is going to discover a new show is via the internet, and the best way for him to do that is via YouTube. Yet the next day, that clip disappeared from YouTube and thus Viacom cut itself off from its future audience.

Comedy Central has put clips on its own site and even allows them to be embedded, like YouTube players, on blogs. Fine. But the first problem with that is that the network is speaking to the audience it already has. To attract a new audience – to make up for the free YouTube promotion it has now cut off – Viacom will have to invest marketing money. Control can be expensive. The second problem is that the network, not the audience, is picking the good stuff now. If your audience wants to praise and recommend and pass around your best stuff, why wouldn’t you let them, encourage them, enable them?

Indeed, that’s one reason… as Jarvis notes elsewhere, this is free stuff keeping control means you spend money marketing your message rather giving it away free!!! The scary thing is that the audience decides what floats and what sinks… which as I said above, is tough call for some of our politicos…

Rather than cutting off new distributors and promoters, I say that producers should be finding the ways to take full advantage of the opportunities they present. How can you build new audience for free and grow larger than you ever could when you were limited by your own distribution and marketing? How can you enable that growing audience to recommend and share your best stuff? How can you find yourself in a larger conversation – not just in comments on your site, but in the response videos people make on YouTube and elsewhere? How can you use this new medium to find new talent and new ways to make content for less?

And the key? According to Jarvis: “Find the flow. Then go with it”.

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  • For the SDLP in North Down we are doing a picture diary of the campaign, rather than a video diary. Link to the Flickr pics from http://www.sdlpnorthdown.org

  • Liam’s a good lad- the people of North Down would do well to elect him as one of their MLAs this time round.

  • DUP

    The report came just a little too late for the DUP’s daily video blog to be shown.

    http://www.dup.org.uk/DailyBlog.asp

  • blogger

    Oh yawn, I’m sorry but I had to cut Peter Robinson short after a mere 40 seconds because he was so damned boring. We all know the standard DUP message, the idea of a blog is supposed to be a relaxed view of how things are going and maybe revealing something the viewer has not already seen and heard a million times before. A poor effort from the DUP.

  • Crataegus

    El Matador

    It will be interesting to see how the SDLP vote holds in North down. Logan is not a Councillor and the Greens are unquestionably growing in strength. His vote will be under severe pressure.

  • Mick Fealty

    blogger,

    Any chance of seeing your blog? It’s a bit unfair to ram into a party that’s experimenting if you don’t provide some kind of hint on how to do it properly, surely?

  • Crat-

    ND is that one constituency where none of us really knows what the outcome will be. They’re not exactly predictable 😉

  • Rory

    Napoleon Bonaparte is credited with defining the English as “a nation of shopkeepers”. It is not only in his support for independent stores that I see Reverend Billy as positively Napoleonic. The faux show of concern that the Greens display for “the little people” is merely a disguise to cloak their far right=of=centre rigidity and “mama-knows-best” ideology which is quite dangerous.

    I pray they are not heeded.

  • Crataegus

    Rory

    I tend to agree with you in the sense that Greens need to think through the effects of a lot of their policy and they can be a right sanctimonious pain in the neck.

    If you take congestion charging in London as an example, which I like, and think has been positive. If you apply this to Belfast all it will do is increase the use of out of town shopping centres and kill the trade in Belfast centre. So would Greens suggest this here or would it be part of a package of measures, I just don’t know.

    I think the problem is that they are underrepresented and a lot of what they propose is in generalities so we don’t see pragmatic implementation just the grand idea. Though on the grand idea they seem to be more right than wrong, pollution, ozone layer, global warming, sustainability, investing in peaceful relations and local communities etc. I would like to see how they would implement some of what they say as the way we are going currently is insane and I say that as a developer with a healthy dislike of poorly informed NIMBY ‘environmentalists’.

    In the building context much of what they suggest is doable but the way people are implementing more efficient buildings currently etc shows a total lack of overall understanding and is exceedlingly muddled. So perhaps it is also the usual political parties implementing bits and pieces of Green ideas without a proper comprehension or commitment that is also part of the problem.

  • kensei

    “Comedy Central has put clips on its own site and even allows them to be embedded, like YouTube players, on blogs. Fine. But the first problem with that is that the network is speaking to the audience it already has. To attract a new audience – to make up for the free YouTube promotion it has now cut off – Viacom will have to invest marketing money. Control can be expensive. The second problem is that the network, not the audience, is picking the good stuff now.”

    To an extent, this is right. But, Viacom has signed a deal with Joost. It’s a hugely impressive vision, if it takes off:

    http://www.wired.com/news/wiredmag/0,72506-0.html?tw=rss.index