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And now Hillary Clinton has joined the club, with her own video clip posted on her website — on a Saturday morning. And it’s interesting to see how often she uses the theme of having a “conversation” with the American public, and at one point says she will have regular online Q & A sessions.

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We know the YouTube effect (or as I like to call it, the Lazy Sunday effect) is in the process of disrupting the network-television business in various ways, but it also seems to be well on its way to disrupting the business of politics as well — and the latest wave in that particular tsunami just rolled ashore with the video launch of Barack Obama’s campaign to become president.

We’ve already seen the effect that videos uploaded to YouTube and other sites can have on the political discourse in both Canada and the U.S., especially when those videos happen to be filmed by soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan, or video clips of dictators being hanged, etc. That’s one aspect of it. And then there’s Senator John Edwards making his pitch using Rocketboom, and having Poptech video-blogger Robert Scoble tag along on his airplane.


Where is all this going? Who the heck knows. But it could definitely get interesting. As usual, the Web disintermediates, or takes out the middleman, and in this case the middleman (or men) are the TV networks and veteran political reporters. In the past, Obama’s pitch — which Rachel Sklar writes about at Eat The Press and Liz Gannes notes at NewTeeVee — would have been filmed and handed to the networks, or done using a favoured anchor such as Tom Jennings. The networks would have made a lot of hay with either one.

Now, they show up on Obama’s website or on YouTube, or both. And as makes clear, this isn’t just a lark by Obama, to show that he “gets it.” The deal with Brightcove — which just announced a financing round of about $50-million — is part of an ongoing video strategy that will involve future campaign videos, an Obama “channel” and the ability for supporters to embed video in their pages. That is huge. And it’s interesting that it’s Brightcove and not Google Video and YouTube.

TV 2.0 — slouching towards Bethlehem

Two announcements that indicate the process of evolution in the TV 2.0 business is really picking up a head of steam: Brightcove — which until recently was like the wizard behind the curtains, powering online TV ventures such as the recently announced music video deal with Warner Music — remakes itself with a consumer-facing site and service that plans to compensate users for video content, and Metacafe announces its “producer awards” feature, which pays video uploaders $5 for every 1,000 views their video gets above the 20,000 mark.

Plenty of people wondering what this means for GooTube, of course, now that Google has paid $1.6-billion out of petty cash for the thing — but it’s also worth wondering how the folks over at Revver are feeling, since they more or less pioneered the whole “pay the users” video thing. Thanks to Revver, the guys at who made the Diet Coke-Mentos video got $30,000 or so for all the views that their clip got (Revver pays creators 50 per cent of the ad revenue they get, and you can also get paid based on how many places the video is embedded).


As Matt Marshall explains over at VentureBeat, Metacafe not only pays producers of video, it also tries to filter out the chaff by submitting videos to a group of reviewers who give it the thumbs up or down before it hits the site, adding a kind of Digg-style (or American Idol-style) voting aspect to it. And then there’s Brightcove, which will give content owners 50 per cent of the revenue from ads, or the ability to offer paid downloads of their content, for which they get 70 per cent.

In a sense, YouTube and its ilk are coming at the market from the opposite end of things as Brightcove: they started with videos of kittens and skateboarders hurting themselves and so on, and are now trying to become more mainstream and legitimate, while Brightcove started as the corporate stooge who works with the networks and now wants to layer some popular, viral video on top of all that. Who will win? The betting window is now open.


Marshall at TechCrunch notes that Google also tweaked its video service today, by adding a “sponsored” video category aimed at major TV production outfits (those with at least 1,000 hours of video). The new feature launched with a Coke video with none other than the Eepybird Mentos guys.