Political Technology

Announced: AP Mobile Election Results

The Associated Press (AP) just announced a new mobile service covering election results:

"The service, called AP Mobile Election Results, features Crisp’s content management, delivery and application development platform and is designed specifically for the AP’s customer base, which includes newspapers and broadcasters.

"The mobile device is rapidly becoming the tool for mobilizing social and political audiences, and the delivery of on-demand election information has tremendous political, social, and commercial value to a wide variety of customers," said Boris Fridman, CEO of Crisp Wireless. "The Mobile Election Results service combines content from AP, one of the premier global news organizations, and an easily-customizable news service...


So you want to be a video star...

Hey, people are watcing - 100 million you tube downloads per day. Did we mention, that was - per day! You know it's you. Procrastinating at work, again. You should be ashamed.

Read here.

New NPI Report on "Mobile Media in 21st Century Politics"

We just released a terrific new report today on mobile media in politics that you can get in pdf form on the New Politics Institute website. It's written by Tim Chambers, one of our new fellows who has been posting on this NDN blog, and his business partner, Rob Sebastian. You can go there directly through the links above, or read the preface that I wrote to get an overview below:

The impact of new Internet tools on politics is getting all the attention in the fall of 2006, but a whole new terrain is opening up that will also have big political consequences in the year or two ahead. The mobile phone has evolved from simply a voice communicator to a hub for mobile media. That small screen on your phone is beginning to take its place alongside the personal computer and television as an important way to connect to Americans.

Each of these screens has unique capabilities that can be used in politics. Mobile phone media, unlike media channeled through TV and PCs, allow people to connect anytime, anywhere. Today 80 percent of voting age Americans have mobile phones and an increasing number are becoming savvy at using them to create and consume media.

Some constituencies are more savvy or dependent on mobile phones than others. Two key groups in are of special concern to progressives. Any majority political movement of the early 21st century will need to connect to the massive young generation of Millennials, and the booming population of Hispanics. Both groups are among the top users of mobile phone media.

The development of mobile media is not going to take place in the distant future. As this report points out, mobile media has already proved to have had big political impacts in other countries, and it played a key role in the immigration demonstrations all over the United States this spring. Now is the time for progressive political practitioners to start to engage this new technology and media. The report ends with seven concrete steps to begin mastering this new world.

The very first step, though, is to get an overview of the whole booming field by reading this comprehensive paper. It is filled with startling facts and figures that will help even those who think they understand what is going on:

Did you know that mobile video services already reach more users than the 8th largest cable operator in the country? That by 2008 as many as 30 percent of wireless phone users will not own a land line? (What will political pollsters do?) That last year U2’s Bono got 800,000 people to sign up for the One Campaign to eradicate poverty by sending a test message through their mobile phones at his concerts?

Much is already happening, but much more is to come. The New Politics Institute wants to help progressives figure this out. This report was done by one of the New Politics Institute’s new fellows, Tim Chambers, and his business partner Rob Sebastian in a new wireless company. They are generously passing on what they know to up the game of the progressive movement as a whole.

Peter Leyden
Director of the New Politics Institute

Instat Research: By 2009 10% of all Mobile Users will be Mobile Video Subscribers

In keeping with the theme on the blog watching viral and  personally created online video, there is good new data from Instat Research out today on Mobile Video. In short, they predict that long form mobile video should come together by 2008-2009,  and by 2009 1 out of 10 mobile subscribers will also be mobile video subscribers. Here is a snippet from the Instat press release:

“The market for long form mobile/portable video content (video content of greater than 30 minutes) is currently in an experimental phase, and will likely remain at this stage for at least two years, reports In-Stat. By 2008, however, the industry will begin to gain traction and demonstrate its long-term potential…”

  • It is not clear if users will prefer an all-purpose multimedia cellular phone or separate voice and multimedia devices.
  • Mobile video subscribers stand to represent over 10% of US wireless subscribers by 2009.
  • Roughly one out of eight respondents in an In-Stat survey of mobile users expressed interest in mobile video for the cellular market.

"This is a Development for Democracy..."

Hat tip to Simon for pointing this my way... It's a great article in the Post describing political protest and activism in the Philippines using mobile text messaging... It is a facinating case study, as the Philippines mobile network is much more advanced than their land line Internet. The entire article is amazing, but here are some snippets...

"Cellphones and text messaging are changing the way political mobilizations are conducted around the world. From Manila to Riyadh and Kathmandu protests once publicized on coffeehouse bulletin boards are now organized entirely through text-messaging networks that can reach vast numbers of people in a matter of minutes.

The technology is also changing the organization and dynamics of protests, allowing leaders to control, virtually minute-by-minute, the movements of demonstrators, like military generals in the field. Using texts that communicate orders instantly, organizers can call for advances or retreats of waves of protesters.

This tool has changed the balance of political power in places where governments have a history of outmuscling dissent....

Every major Philippine political party and nonprofit group has a database of its supporters' cellphone numbers. Many use computers to automatically generate mass text mailings to those phones with news about issues or rallies or upcoming votes....

"Before, we had no choice but to keep quiet and listen to the president," Palatino said, still holding his tiny phone. 'This is a development for democracy.'"

Going "Where the Audience Is"

Keeping the theme of "bottom up video" as a rising trend, old friends of mine announced a deal today for Sony Pictures Entertaiment to purchase the social video service Grouper for 65 million dollars. I suspect we will continue to see the line between traditional media companies and online user created media continue to blur. Here is bit from the press release:

"Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE) has acquired Grouper, the fast-growing user-generated video site on the Internet, it was announced today by Michael Lynton, SPE Chairman and Chief Executive Officer...Consumers are spending more and more time on sites like Grouper, and as one of the world's largest creators of entertainment, we want to be where the audiences are," said Lynton." In another story he compared social video sites this way: "I think user-generated content and the sites around (them) are businesses or platforms unto themselves in the same way that television networks (are)," Lynton said.

Arnold Schwarzenegger Adds SMS Messaging to his Re-election Campaign

Somewhat quietly, Arnold has added SMS outreach to his campaing site. You can find it here, and you can see that they have added “ringtones” as a download from their site as well, although that is “coming soon.”

I believe this is the first use of SMS in a gubernatorial race in the US. More details on the offering as it surfaces…

- Tim

Voter Vault: GOP Not So Secret Weapon

This intriguing article from The LA Time's Peter Wallsten and Tom Hamburger caught my eye. (It was originally in the LA Times in June, but for some reason has been reprinted by  the Star Tribune. I didn't catch it first time round.) They disucuss June's election in the California 50th, claiming the GOP won at the last minute by cranking up their legendary vote winning machine: 

The results in the 50th Congressional District did not merely illustrate the potential inadequacy of the Democratic strategy for the November elections; they foreshadowed a much bigger and more startling story line: That even in the face of Republican scandals, sour approval ratings, the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and growing public rejection of President Bush's policies in Iraq, the Republican Party still holds the lead in the art and science of obtaining power -- and keeping it.

They go on to outline one of the GOP's systems in more detail:

Some of the GOP advantages are recent developments, such as the database called Voter Vault, which was used to precision in the San Diego County special election. The program allows ground-level party activists to track voters by personal hobbies, professional interests, geography -- even by their favorite brands of toothpaste and soda and which gym they belong to..... Democrats also use marketing data, but Voter Vault includes far more information culled from marketing sources -- including retailers, magazine subscription services, even auto dealers.... Voter Vault, although it is a closely guarded GOP trade secret, is nevertheless easily accessible to on-the-ground campaign workers and operatives should they need to mobilize votes in a hurry.

As NDN's ongoing Tool's Campaign has been arguing, if we lose in November at least part of the reason will be that the ongoing gap in campaign kit. Which, given how badly things are going for the GOP on the economy, the war and the rest, would be painful indeed. 

NY Times Uses “Cheaper, More Effective Online Tools” to Reach out for New Subscribers

An interesting quote from editor and publisher magazine. It describes the private sector coming to terms with the idea that online can offer a great deal more efficiency than direct mail in reaching out to potential subscribers. Love to see any good studies exist to compare the use of "cheaper, more effective online tools" vs direct-mail to the political sphere...if you know of any post them in the comments here....

"Like print, direct-mail is quickly becoming very retro. Even the New York Times has found recently that it is actually much more effective to sell print subscriptions by using online behavioral analysis to target likely subscribers.

The Times' marketing department recently teamed with behavioral marketing company Tacoda to collect and analyze data about the online behavior of NYTimes.com readers, which then determined which kinds of readers (by interest and geography) were most likely to subscribe to the print edition. Using cookies, the Times determined the rate of subscription conversion across all the sections of the paper as well as 350 different content categories, and cross-referenced the findings with geographic data found in the user's IP address. The paper then could market directly to those people with the highest likelihood of converting (through ads targeted to them specifically). The result, according to Tacoda's Sales Strategy VP Greg Rogers, was a vastly reduced cost-per-acquisition for the paper, and more subscriptions.

In 2006 you can't rescue floundering print products by relying on more print. To prop up and reestablish offline publications you need to work with cheaper, more effective online tools and use your Web presence to highlight your brand to a worldwide audience, some part of whom might be interested enough in your content to buy a print subscription." (cross posted at mobiledemocracy blog)

Senator Allen and YouTube

(Cross posted at MobileDemocracy blog)

From today’s Rolling Stone poltics blog on Senator Allen, YouTube, and politics. Imagine how this effect will be amplified now that over 40% of mobile phones sales are cameraphones. And how that services like YouTube allow for direct uploading of video from your mobile phone to your YouTube account….

Here is an excerpt:

“There’s a paradigm shift under way and politicians like Allen, and to a lesser extent Joe Lieberman and Barbara Boxer, are learning it the hard way. The barriers to video broadcast are now gone. So an opposing campaign no longer has to rely on a local news station or CNN or CSPAN to run video of a gaffe. Any dolt with a handicam now can capture the unscripted reality of a candidate and disseminate it worldwide.

If it generates enough buzz in the blogosphere, the cable networks will even pick it up, as happened almost immediately with Allen’s monkeyboy dig.

What does this YouTube revolution mean for politics? It’s far too early to tell. One might hope that the omipresence of handicam reporters would mean that all of the artifice of advance teams and printed backdrops and hand-picked crowds of supporters only will be erroded. Unlike the professionals at CNN who play along and film the fakeness because it makes for pretty TV, the YouTubers out there are dedicated to exposing such artifice as an embarassment. And embarassing it is.”

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