Thursday New Tools Feature: The New Mass Media

As Tim Chambers mentioned at our great forum today on the New Politics of the Obama Age, NDN has partnered with Dewey Digital and Divinity Metrics to produce a white paper on Web video and the 2008 presidential election. Divinity Metrics collected an amazing amount of data over more than 400 days of the election cycle, from more than 150 different online media services and platforms, and this data allows us to take an in-depth look at how specific events during the election played out in the Web world.

For now, as a preview, I'd like to offer a few key numbers from the report:

  • The Obama campaign produced 2,000 official Web videos over the course of the election, compared to 376 from the McCain campaign.
  • There were 123,000 non-Campaign Obama videos, compared to less than 70,000 for McCain.
  • Videos about Obama received over 1 billion views over the course of the election, compared to 613 million for McCain.

There are several things to take away from these numbers, but I think perhaps the most important is this: With a combined 1.6 billion views between just the Obama and McCain videos this election cycle (approximately 2 billion with all the presidential campaigns included), Web video is no longer an emergent medium. It now falls, definitively, under the heading of "mass media." And it's not just a question of reach, either; because Web video does not come through a middle-man, and is often sent to the viewer by family or friends, it can have a strong, direct impact that is hard for other media to match. 

As NDN and our affiliate, the New Politics Institute, have been saying for some time, Web video has very quickly become an essential component of successful political campaigns, and is now becoming a powerful tool for governing as well (see my recent post about President-elect Obama's first weekly YouTube address). To learn more about how Web video has permanently altered the political landscape, and for tips on how to use it effectively, check out our New Politics Institute paper, Reimagine Video, and be sure to stay tuned for our upcoming white paper!