On YouTube, McCain, Where Art Thou?

The 24/7 nature of news continues…minutes after I wrote my thoughts on the ways YouTube has impacted the 2008 presidential election, I saw that TechPresident had covered the subject with some real numbers.

They asked the question, “How much is YouTube worth to a Presidential campaign”?  The numbers, and the stark difference between Obama and McCain, are startling.   

The total in absolute time (views * video length):
Obama 14,548,809.05 hours; McCain 488,093.01 hours

14+ million hours of free video for Obama.  14 million!  They then put that number to Joe Trippi who calculated that would cost about $46 million for Obama in paid advertising.  For McCain, the cost would be about $1.5 million.  Trippi also makes the point that those 14 million hours are hours spent by people who chose to be there, not the same as paid ads that often seemed shoved down voters’ throats.

What is amazing to me is that the guy who has no money, McCain, is the candidate who did not take advantage of YouTube, aka free media.  The campaign knew they would be reined in by public financing and up against the financial juggernaut that is Obama, yet they did not take advantage of online videos as a new, cheap and innovative way to reach voters.  Of course, a large number of the Obama videos are voter-generated, in addition to those released by the campaign.  This demonstrates once again what I’ll call the “Shirky rule” of the 2008 election – McCain had no promise, no bargain and no tools.  And, perhaps most consequently, no YouTube!


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