Jan 18, 2016
2016 NBC Democratic National Debate Attempts To Bring A Younger Audience Into The Conversation
Earlier today, NBC held the final Democratic National Debate before voting begins for the primary election which will result in the Democratic Presidential candidate. If you tuned in you would have seen the usual back and forth between each candidate trying to convince the viewers that their views and opinions on where this country should go is best. Following tradition, like most of the past presidential debates, the broadcast attempted to bring in a younger audience that may not usually tune into the show. The strategy they employed today was to try to bring in the audiences of popular YouTubers including vloggers like Connor Franta and tech reviewer Marques Brownlee, as well as the scientists of the animated series Minute Earth and blogger Franchesca Ramsey. Being a film editor in the YouTube/web world for various Youtube channels and having worked with many YouTube Stars including Connor Franta, Tyler Oakley, Amanda Steele and many others, I fully understand the move. For people within the YouTube world, we understand the immense power these YouTube stars posses in getting their subscribers, many times over a few million individuals, to pay attention to social issues they deem worthy. So, the question I asked myself was, are people that are tuning into these channels really interested in the politics of this country? After thinking about this question for a few moments I went onto my Facebook page and asked my 400 friends, "Just curious, who is watching the democratic debate? Im curious if many people my age are watching these hour long debates or if the youth of this country isn't interested." I immediately got a few replies from several of the older friends (older as in mid 40's to 50's, sorry guys!), but then I got a very interesting response from a friend that falls into the "younger" age range. Her reply to my post was "I prefer reading the highlights the next day. Just dont want to sit through all the pomp and circumstance." I found this to be extremely interesting because I feel like this is how most of this country's youth see everything these days. As someone else followed up "'I'd agree, bc the debates are long." The obvious follow-up question is, who will this benefit? Who makes the short 1-3 minute cut downs for each of the questions and who posts them and shares them for millions of people to see? That is where I think those YouTube stars come back into the equation. Once these cut downs are created the people most likely to share them are those YouTube stars that asked the questions, which will lead to several million people watching and sharing the video to their friends. The final thought that came to mind was, who understands this new funnel of information and how will they use it? From this chart, the google activity for each candidate during the debate in October shows Bernie Sanders having the strongest hold on the social media scene. With Iowa beginning voting for the primaries on February 1, 2016, we will have to wait and see if Bernie can continue to keep the social media talking.