Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Why are Politicians Not Webcasting?

According to Crain's New York Business, ad spending growth in 2008 will be fueled by political advertising and the Olympics.

Which makes me wonder why politicans are not webcasting, particularly in this presidential elections when so many primaries are in the month of January.

Webcasting is well-suited for allowing candidates and office holders to reach the people with a specific message. Web events can be streamed live and archived for on-demand viewing, which creates some interesting possibilities:

Candidate X does 45 minutes on health care (with synchronized Power Point slides), takes 15 minutes of carefully vetted questions. The webcast then sits on the candidate's web site for on demand viewing, reaching many more than the live audience.

The next night, or the next week, Candidate X does 45 minutes on Social Security, and takes 15 minutes of questions. After a few months of doing these "Virtual Town Hall Meetings," voters can go to the candidate's web site and access a library of the candidate discussing the issues in his or her own words.

This is much more impactful than a position paper. The candidate can be anywhere to do these live webcasts. He or she would deliver the audio over a telephone. The Q/A feature is an instant messaging system, which means you have complete control over what questions are asked and answered. No ambushes. And the campaign can follow up after the event with every person who asked a question they did not get to answer. The Q/A feature stays active for on demand viewing, so any questions asked are routed via email to the campaign.

And, of course, the reporting is comprehensive: who watched, for how long, what questions did they ask, what responses did they give to live polls, etc. This is a powerful lead generation tool; campaigns are identifying and engaging voters and building a database. Is that not what party building is all about?

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