Wednesday, July 25, 2007

CNN-Youtube debate

CNN has really understood the power of the WebEcosystem. Instead of looking at user generated content as a competitor to the corporate content, and YouTube as the TV killer; they used YouTube videos made by amateurs to create a really relevant, entertaining and engaging TV experience.

Here is a YouTube report about from a great site TechPresident

CNN organised a presidential debate where all the questions where posted as videos on YouTube.
Here is what CNN managed to do right:

1) The questions were great

CNN had 3000 videos to choose from so they could have asked any question they want by simply picking. But all the questions were fun, heartfelt, and having a human face (as opposed to a journalist ;) which forced the candidates to be slightly more sincere.

2) Reached to a younger audience

The rating did not go through the roof however says the New York Times Caucus blog:

"The total audience Monday night was 2,622,000, while the total audience for the June 3 debate in New Hampshire was 2,783,000, CNN said. Both were for the eight Democratic presidential candidates.

Still, Monday’s debate, held in Charleston, S.C., did draw what CNN said was the biggest audience since measurements began in 1992 for a cable news debate of those between 18 and 34, the demographic most coveted by advertisers."

3) Respected the medium

Anderson Cooper kept the politician from going into speeches and forced them to focus on the questions. He added very little editorial content and was just a facilitator between the YouTube questioner and the presidents-to-be.

4) User generated content = better programming

For a week or more before the debate CNN dedicated a full segment daily to look at the questions, they analysed them, interviewed some of the YouTubers, etc, etc. Which was much more fun than their usual Paris-Hilton-feeling-slightly-under-the-weather programming.

5) Make it a "Moment"

CNN made a big effort to galvanise attention around the debate calling it "historic", "unprecedented" and a load of other superlatives. They devoted a lot of time before the debate building up the event as if it were a De La Hoya/Mayweather rematch.
I think they did manage to create the excitement and anticipation that made the event successful.

Some other day I will talk about how we can make this even better.

Here is the full debate.

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