MySpace and the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD) Announce Landmark Internet Partnership for 2008 General Election Debates
MySpace, the world’s premier social network, and the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD) today announced a landmark partnership for the upcoming Presidential and Vice Presidential Debate series. In support of the partnership, MySpace will launch ‘MyDebates.org’ – a new website that will offer a host of interactive tools for viewers to virally engage in the political process. The partnership marks the first time that the CPD has paired with an Internet property to include online functionality into the event series and traditional debate format.
“MySpace is a platform that promotes social and political engagement at every level. From the candidate profiles on MySpace to the viral fundraising by our community – we are committed to creating an environment that creates higher levels of civic engagement, said Chris DeWolfe, CEO of MySpace. “For the first time in American history, viewers of the Debates will be empowered to watch the event in real time online and review candidate responses on demand. We’re honored to be part of such an historic shift in how Americans engage in the Democratic process.”
The general election debates, a series that includes three separate Presidential debates and one debate featuring the candidates running for Vice President, will kick off in late September with a broadcast on all the major national television networks. Each historic television event captures more than 36 million worldwide viewers and will now include an entirely new audience online able to watch each debate via live web stream.
“Our educational partnership with MySpace builds on the unique power of digital media to further engage voters on the issues and help ensure their voices are heard in new and effective ways. I’m confident that this is the best way for new media to intersect with the general election Presidential debates,” said Janet Brown, Executive Director of the Presidential Debate Commission.
MySpace and the CPD will jointly launch ‘MyDebates.org’ – a new website which will house online tools to promote deeper levels of political engagement with viewers at home. Visitors to the site will have the option of downloading a personalized application which, during the debates, will stream the television event live from the embed location (e.g. within a blog, social network, or website). The application will also provide users with an on-demand playback functionality as well as issue-based tracking, allowing users to track a candidate’s stance on issues they care about throughout the live stream. The full functionality will be available in the days leading up to the first Presidential debate on Friday, September 26.
Additionally, ‘MyDebates.org’ will feature high-quality video streaming and as the candidates are speaking, “issue icons” will light up as candidates discuss specific main topics. Users will be polled periodically throughout the debates with short questions with multiple choice answers (or iconic responses, e.g. thumbs-up/ down). This format will reduce distraction while eliciting specific and valuable feedback.
Immediately following each debate, ‘MyDebates.org’ will house videos of the debates in their entirety, available for viewing at any time. Videos will be “bookmarked” to allow users to easily jump to their important issues, and will be searchable and tagged by event, candidate, issues, and questions asked of the candidates. Users can also “share,”"comment” and “rate” links in the Video Clip Player. MySpaceTV will host the debate clips which will be accessible to anyone on the Internet.
The first Presidential debate will take place on Friday, September 26 and will be followed by a Vice Presidential debate on Thursday, October 2. The second Presidential debate, in a Town Hall format, will take place on Tuesday, October 7. ‘MyDebates.org’ will provide the Web platform through which Americans will submit questions which may be presented to the candidates during this event. The third Presidential debate will take place on Wednesday, October 15.
“Exit polls have consistently found that the general election debates are the #1 factor in shaping voter choice,” said Lee Brenner, Director of MySpace’s Impact program. “In an era of information overload, ‘MyDebates.org’ will enable Americans to make the most of information presented during the debates, and even personalize their experience by homing in on the issues that are most important to them.”
MySpace, a unit of Fox Interactive Media Inc., is the premier lifestyle portal for connecting with friends, discovering popular culture, and making a positive impact on the world. MySpace has created a connected global community by integrating web profiles, blogs, instant messaging, e-mail, music streaming, music videos, photo galleries, classified listings, events, groups, college communities, and member forums. MySpace’s international network includes more than 20 localized community sites in the United States, Brazil, Canada, Latin America, Mexico, Austria, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Australia, India, Japan, and New Zealand. Fox Interactive Media is a division of News Corp. (NYSE:NWS)(NYSE:NWS.A)(ASX:NWS)(ASX:NWSLV).
(a) Among the top 2000 domains comScore Media Metrix, June 2008. For more information on comScore Networks, please go to http://www.comscore.com.
About the Presidential Debate Commission
The Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD) was established in 1987 to ensure that debates, as a permanent part of every general election, provide the best possible information to viewers and listeners. Its primary purpose is to sponsor and produce debates for the United States presidential and vice presidential candidates and to undertake research and educational activities relating to the debates. The organization, which is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, 501(c)(3) corporation, sponsored all the presidential debates in 1988, 1992, 1996, 2000, and 2004.