Voters log Web time

Ad Age talks online vids and presidential race

Among the happenings at Ad Age’s inaugural Advertising 2.0 confab was a conveniently timed panel Wednesday about how Web video has shaped the presidential race.

Panelists from YouTube, Slate, the Washington Post and others mulled the phenom of “voter-generated content” and dished out some stats and insights that helped the audience at Gotham’s New World Stages make sense of Barack Obama’s victory in the Democratic race.

Among the most intriguing data:

  • Obama’s 37-minute speech on race has been viewed online more than 50 million times;

  • A user-generated “Vote Different” ad, a swipe at Hillary Clinton modeled after Ridley Scott’s famous 1984 Apple spot, has generated 5.2 million views;

  • Of the $55 million raised by the Obama campaign in February, roughly $45 million was collected online.

These features of the landscape point to a unique presidency, should current poll data hold. “Obama is going to be the first president with an email list of 5 million addresses,” said Andrew Rasiej, founder of Personal Democracy Forum. “The way he and Hillary Clinton are going to be able to use their lists is going to be much different than these simplistic emails from John Kerry after he lost in 2004.”

In a separate session sizing up the ad climate overall, some time was devoted to the purchase of CNET by CBS, which was flagged as a signal deal for the media biz as it tries to scale up in terms of tech and Web capability.

Dave Morris, chief client officer at CNET, said integration talks have just begun between the two companies in the wake of the May buyout news.

CBS chief Leslie Moonves has set a target for CNET of $1 billion in revenue by 2010, more than double its current level of $450 million. “This deal hasn’t even closed yet and I feel enormous pressure,” Morris quipped.

“But the good news is the cultures are a fit,” Morris added, noting his long run at Time Inc., which endured several difficult mergers.

The two-day confab wraps Thursday, when speakers will include keynoter Russell Simmons and execs from CBS, Endemol, William Morris and Disney.

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