Count on political Internet video to get a lot more exciting than Democrat John Edwards' announcement posted this week. What if the Kerry Swift boat controversy of the last presidential campaign played out on YouTube? It all might even get hot enough to spark some interesting business uses of Internet video.Edwards' YouTube posting of the announcement of his presidential bid had a "look I'm hip to this Internet thing" feel to it. But it did get some wondering about the need to regulate political Internet video, in the way TV time is. Seems unnecessary: TV time is limited and pricey; Web video time is unlimited and cheap. It's people's attention that's hard to come by online. Yet it's hard for me to imagine Web video not playing an important role in the coming campaign. Think of the Swift boat controversy around Sen. John Kerry's presidential bid. What if that video message could've been shared as easily as online video is today, instead of mostly through expensive TV time? Attack ads go viral.
Not a pleasant thought, but it might be enough to spur business people to get creative with online video. We've seen a shipping broker, uShip.com, do its take-off of the Office , complete with the CEO-as-dufus. We've seen a Lockheed Martin employee post his concerns about Coast Guard patrol vessels the company worked on. A stop-motion video that's getting a lot of viewers right now is billed as "a little present from me and from our company to our clients." It's a whole lot better than those those worse-than-worthless "season's greetings" e-mails, but hardly a game-changer.
So it's looking to me like political use of Internet video is going to get very hot, while business mostly keeps playing it safe. Let us know if you've seen brilliant (or ridiculous) business uses of Web video -and what your outlook is for the politicos.