Says Arianna Huffington, founder of The Huffington Post: “Were if not for the Internet, Barack Obama would not be the nominee and the president.”
Using interactive Web 2.0 tools (at BarackObama.com, MyBarackObama.com and other sites), Obama’s campaign changed the way politicians organize supporters, advertise to voters, defend against attacks, communicate with constituents, and get an army of non-paid volunteers.
Also, the President-elect took advantage of YouTube for free advertising. In a way, those videos were more effective that television ads because viewers chose to watch them or receive them from a friend instead of having their television shows interrupted.
Yes, for John F. Kennedy it was the television; for Barack Obama was the Internet.
(And by the way, the new President has a new blog, Change.gov. It runs on Expression Engine, and the site has been built by Blue State Digital. This company also created BarackObama.com. The rest is a mix of Movable Type, Expression Engine and their own code).
YouTube launches live-streaming service
YouTube plans to launch a live-streaming service in the style of startups Ustream, Justin.tv, Stickam and Mogulus on November 22.
However, since live streaming is very expensive and hard to monetize, it is not decided if it will be a service for paying customers only.
A YouTube exec said that if just 10 % of YouTube’s users adopted live streaming, bandwidth costs would go up 20 % to 25 %.
Akamai’s Net Usage Index
Akamai’s “Net Usage Index for News” registered the highest-ever traffic, measured in users per minute during the Election night. At 11pm ET, when Obama was declared the winner, Akamai registered 8,5 million visitors per minute.
Pay-per-view model on high school sports
Another local high school sports TV site has been launched. GrandStadium.tv is a joint venture between WorldNow and a sport consultant. What is interesting is the pay-per-view model: $9.95 to watch live streams of the games.
GrandStadium.tv joins a long list of local high school sports ventures including HSGameTime.com (Belo), HighSchoolPlaybook.com (Hearst), FoxHiLites (Fox), High School Football (Cox), HighSchoolSports.net (Gannett) and MaxPreps (CBS).
The Christian Science Monitor, a 100 year-old new organization, will be the U.S. national daily newspaper to replace its daily print edition with its website CSMonitor.com. They will also offer subscribers weekly print and daily e-mail edition. The move, scheduled for April 2009, will be watched carefully by the newspaper industry, which is struggling with the profound disruptions brought on by the Internet and the rising costs of newsprint and transportation.
Online publication will be updated continuously each day. This new multiplatform strategy will “secure and enlarge the Monitor’s role in its second century”, says the newspaper. Mission continues to be develop “journalism that seeks to bless humanity, not injure, and that shines light on the world’s challenges in an effort to seek solutions”, according to founder Mary Baker’s vision.
The Monitor has required a subsidy from the Christian Science church for most of its history. This year the Monitor will lose $18.9 million.
All three Monitor publications –website, weekly print edition, and daily e-mail edition- will be produced by the same editorial staff, 95-person. The Monitor will continue to operate at its current level of international and domestic coverage, with bureaus throughout the globe, and a strong presence in Washington. The newspaper thinks that these bureaus represent a distinct competitive advantage at a time when other news organizations are cutting back on staff coverage from outside their circulation regions.
Monitor wants to encourage much more two-way conversation between readers and Monitor staffers to “build a community of people who care about the values the Monitor stands for”.
MTVMusic.com, a great archive for other sites
MTV has launched its own Hulu. The new MTVMusic.com is a clean, user-friendly video. You can comment, rate and embed clips, as well as meet other people. Will MTVMusic.com succeed, given the most viral music videos are usually available on YouTube and other video sites.
MTV says that MTVMusic.com is not designed to be a destination site but a sort of white-label archive for other sites, both MTV Networks properties and others, so they can grab all the clips needed.
TiVo, Netflix partner on Web streaming
Netflix DVD subscription service and Tivo have reached a long-awaited partnership. Netflix’s Web streaming-movie service, called Watch Instantly, now with 12,000 movies and television, will be placed on TiVo’s HD-compatible set-top boxes in December. Doing so, it furthers the technology industry’s goal of sending television shows and movies over the Internet, instead of over traditional cable and satellite networks.
Now Netflix’s subscribers (nine million) can view instantly over the Web current movies offering on their PCs without charge.
TiVo subscribers who also have one of Netflix’s unlimited subscription plans (which start at $9 a month) won’t pay any extra charge. Right now, owners of TiVo boxes can already rent or buy films and TV shows over the Internet from Amazon.com, Walt Disney Studios and Jaman.com, and play them on TV.
TiVo has another component of its business –selling its software to cable and satellite providers, many of whom offer their own generic, lower-priced DVRs to their customers.
TiVo hopes that Internet deals like its Netflix partnership can help it sell more of its own devices (which make up only a fraction of the DVR market).
In the last year, Netflix has signed a deal to digitally deliver its catalog to Microsoft’s Xbox service. It has also invested in Roku, a start-up that manufactures a $99 set-top box that bring Netfilx’s streaming service to TVs.
First anniversary of Hulu.com
This Wednesday Hulu.com celebrates its first anniversary. The aesthetically pleasing and easy-to-use interface, its contents and the advertising innovations with fewer ads have been formula for success. Now it dominates the emerging market for ad-supported TV and movie streaming, it counts more than 100 sponsors, and it is the sixth-most-popular video brand in the United States.
It ranks far below YouTube, which streams 20 times as many videos as any other brand in the U.S., and it is behind sites owned by Yahoo, MSN and Nickelodeon. It has surpassed the online video networks operated by ESPN, CNN, MTV and Disney.
Also, Hulu attracts a wider audience than web competitors like Veoh and Joost. Now the joint venture of NBC Universal and News Corporation has a library of more than 1,000 television series and 400 feature-length films. And despite reportedly is not yet profitable, it has won over many advertising executives. “I’ve waiting for this for 10 years” (…) “Hulu takes TV content, which is the best long-form video there is, and it just breaks it out the tyranny of the schedule”.
In terms of the formula of less advertising, it seems that users are happy. Half-hour comedies like “Family Guy” or “The Office” have an average of eight minutes of commercial time on TV, and on Hulu.com each show averages two minutes of ads. Hulu says they have no plans to increase the advertising load.
YouTube has started to offer paid search ads in order to allow people drive traffic to their clips. This service is part of YouTube’s new platform and it is called YouTube Sponsored Videos. This clip provides a quick overview of how it works.
It looks like YouTube has found a powerful business model –advertiser pays only if the visitor clicks on that sponsored video. Analysts speculate now with the idea of Google linking its traditional search ads with YouTube search ads. If so, Google could become a force in video advertising.
“YouTube democratizes the broadcast experience, and now we we are democratizing the promotional and advertising experience as well. This is the first step in that direction,” says YouTube’s speaker.
New trend in community news: Going nonprofit to survive
Consider this new model for community news: switching to non profit organization. This is what the Northwest regional news site Crosscut.com is doing. The goal is to pay the bills, getting streams of revenue from donors and members.
His publisher explains: “It puts the public interest back into journalism, and it helps to reconnect readers/members with the site in ways that the interactive features of the web make more natural and illuminating.” Similar samples are MinnPost.com and VoiceofSanDiego.org.
CNN tries to be the next AP
CNN studies to launch a new wire service now that newspapers are dropping the old AP. “CNN Newsource” is the current affiliate video service that just about every local TV station subscribes to. Analysts say that CNN Wire could be a game changer.
Right now, CNN is in some ways as big as the AP. CNN boasts 3,800 employees and 37 bureaus, 900 TV affiliates, a web site, radio network and two cable networks.
Next month the company will host a “newspaper summit”.
Gannett acquires social media provider Ripple6
Gannett has acquired social net tools provider Ripple6 to create online communities for its own properties and outside media companies. Terms were not disclosed. Ripple6, a leading provider of social media services headquartered in New York City, has been powering some of the social features on Gannett’s MomsLikeMe network of sites.
In a press release, president of Gannett said: “With the Ripple6 platform, we can help users create communities and connect with their friends and family in a highly pleasing ways, while providing marketers with innovative advertising opportunities and measurable results.”
“From the moment we began working with Ripple6, we realized we had found a company that is richly innovative and can change the way social media is offered and monetized online,” added.
In addition to MomsLikeMe.com sites (more than 1 million moms visiting each month), Ripple6 also powers social media properties for Procter & Gamble and MixingBowl.com, Meredith Corporation’s social network around meals and meal planning.
Microsoft jumps into the social network game
Microsoft is launching a new version of Windows Live. There the content is organized into a Facebook-like feed (see a screen grab here ; see the demo video). Content comes from Fickr, Twitter, LinkdIn, Yelp and many more outside services (except MySpace and Facebook, because these two are not publishing their RSS feeds) along with existing Microsoft services like email and Messenger.
Experts say that Microsoft is too late in the social networking game, despite they recognize now the value of social tools.
Microsoft seeks here to create a central place for Internet users to monitor and manage their digital lives… without leaving Windows Live.