Brown unveils bid to reconnect with voters
LONDON — Embattled British Prime Minister Gordon Brown unveiled his latest bid to reconnect with disgruntled voters Tuesday — Number10TV.Available via a newly revamped Downing Street website (No. 10 Downing St. is the prime minister’s official London residence), the online TV channel offers users exclusive video of the prime minister in action It’s the latest sign that British politicians are catching up with their U.S. counterparts when it comes to drumming up support online. Indeed, Number10TV is even powered by U.S. web video outfit Brightcove — the same company behind Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama’s BarackTV website as well as a host of online video offerings from Fox, HBO, Sony BMG and U.K. satcaster BSkyB. The content is unlikely to break any web traffic records. Visitors to the site are greeted with a welcome message from Brown and a short montage of clips in which the prime minister is shown greeting British troops and foreign dignitaries as well as meeting the public. “There are plenty of ways for you to interact with us and have a conversation about the issues that face our country today,” Brown encourages would-be bloggers and potential voters. Showing he’s no technophobe, the PM also plugs some of the site’s innovations including photo updates on a Flickr channel, regular posts via Twitter and a YouTube channel complete with an “Ask the PM” feature. However, with the site’s initial clips ranging from a visit to a young offenders’ project to the rescue of a kestrel in the gardens of No. 10 Downing St., Brown is unlikely to give YouTube favorites Star Wars Boy and Obama Girl a run for their money just yet. It’s also a far cry from BarackTV, with its slick promotional videos, inspirational soundbites and talk of “connecting all of America to 21st century technology.” Brown is even lagging behind rival Conservative leader David Cameron, whose own website, WebCameron, launched two years ago with behind-the-scenes footage of the pol’s home life, as well as public moments. Still, Number10TV has already spawned a spoof site, so someone out there must be watching.