Do progressive political junkies really want more goofy news parodies, animated political jabs or political rants on the Web? The folks behind PoliticsTV.com, a left-leaning independent media network set to launch today, sure hope so. The online video site, launched in beta on January 31, will serve as a forum for political video content provided by activists, advocacy groups, candidates for office, and media-generating citizens.
“It’s a big illustration of a big trend,” declared Dan Manatt, the creator, CEO and executive producer of PoliticsTV.com, on a conference call yesterday. “Internet TV will do to TV what blogs have done to print journalism,” he continued, citing the low cost of online video in comparison to television content production and distribution.
Advertising will be a primary revenue source, according to Manatt. In addition to running ads as part of the Blogads network, the company will produce and run in-stream video and rich media ads on the site. “As a niche political Internet TV site, it’s our working assumption that we’ll have substantially politically-focused or socially-conscious businesses advertising with us,” suggested Manatt.
The site is currently a shell of what its creators plan for its future self. Four categories, or channels, of video and multimedia content are currently planned. On the sillier side, a daily satirical PTV News Channel offers some content, much of which seems inspired by Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show” and NBC’s “Saturday Night Live Weekend Update.” The site’s Satire Channel will feature Flash animation and live action tidbits.
The more serious Candidate Channel will offer videos from candidates for elective office. The D-Span Channel (to be renamed the Democracy Channel), has been likened to an open-source version of TV’s C-SPAN. It currently houses video of events and speeches, such as an oratory by Senator Ted Kennedy on his opposition to Samuel Alito’s Supreme Court nomination.
Manatt says organizations or candidates expressing “any points of view,” are welcome to upload video content to the Democracy or Candidate Channel. Following a one-month grace period, video uploaders will be charged $100/month for hosting. Additional channels will be launched in coming months. All the content currently on the site has been produced by PoliticsTV.com’s internal production team, which will provide production services to clients hoping to feature content on the site. The site boasted 100,000 video content views during its beta period.
Political software vendor, NGP Software, will be first to run a video ad during PoliticsTV’s premier show, taped during tonight’s launch event. Other advertisers include PoliticsTV.com’s partners, mainly political consulting firms such as Advocacy Inc., MSHC Partners, Connections Media and Blue State Digital. The site also plans to run ads for Karma, a Washington, D.C. restaurant where the launch event is to be held this evening, and for an un-named environmentally-friendly water purification company.
“As we get closer to the electoral season, you’ll see our clients appearing on the show or tangentially working with PoliticsTV,” comments Clay Johnson, co-founder of left-leaning consulting firm, Blue State Digital.
PoliticsTV.com hopes to reach a progressive audience, one Manatt is confident will learn new things from the site. Though they may be preaching to the choir, he insists, “Choir members don’t always have the facts that the choir should.”
The company will promote the site through advertising on the Blogads network, as well as through a strategic relationship with “The Young Turks,” a liberal talk show on Sirius Satellite Radio.
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