If you thought I was going to dive into a political debate (especially considering the fact that I am based in Montreal, Quebec), forget about it. But, I can take a Marketer's perspective to the YouTube - CNN U.S. Presidential Democratic debate which was held in Charleston, South Carolina on Monday. The context was that CNN used videos uploaded to YouTube as the questions for the Democratic candidates.
My Digital Marketing thoughts are quite simple: people don't even think of it as online videos anymore_ it's just YouTube. Just like we don't think about online auctions (we think eBay) and we don't think about online book sellers (we think Amazon). Welcome to the Kleenexization of online videos.
I don't know if YouTube paid for this co-branded honor, or if CNN had to pony up some dough to have the privilege (and coolness) of rubbing up against a brand like YouTube. Regardless, it was a sweet ride for YouTube the whole way through. Even looking at the mass amounts of complaints as to which questions were played and how they were selected, YouTube remained unscathed ("hey, we're just the tube here_ CNN chose what to show," seems to be their general vibe).
It's fascinating to see the many shift and changes as media channels democratize and decentralize. The early adopters probably hate to see the mass commoditization of things like, "their YouTube" and yet, the only way to validate the online space as a credible marketing channel is to have tipping points like YouTube's involvement in last night's debate.
You see, we now live in a world where people may still look at the traditional CNN TV ratings and balk at their performance (whether they were great or terrible), but no one can sit back and deny that we're entering uncharted territories when something as traditional and stagnant as a Presidential Debate gets morphed and reinvented by one of the largest consumer generated content platforms out there.
Social Media works for Marketers. YouTube and their association with the Presidential Debate was a very large (Presidential) stamp of approval that new media, citizen journalism and social media are legitimate Marketing forms.