September 17, 2008
MySpace and the Commission on Presidential Debates Announce Launch of Interactive Toolset for MyDebates.Org, the Landmark Internet Partnership for 2008 General Election Debates
MySpace, the world's premier social network, and the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD) today announced the launch of its toolset for MyDebates.org, a new website that will house interactive tools for viewers to virally engage in the political process, including a personalized issue scorecard, polling, reportable national statistics, live web streaming and much more. MyDebates.org is part of a landmark partnership between MySpace and the CPD for the upcoming presidential and vice presidential debate series. The partnership, conceived of by media agency BBH NY, 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.
When visiting MyDebates.org, users will be prompted to take an "Issues Quiz" that will assess their stance on 14 issues, including the economy, national security, the environment, same-sex marriage, education and healthcare. Once they've taken the quiz, users can see how their values line up with the candidates and view a state-by-state breakdown of how other Americans feel on the issues. Users will also have the option of downloading a personalized application which can be embedded anywhere on the web, for example on a blog, social networking site like MySpace, or another website. The application will provide a summary of the user's stance on the issues, on-demand playback functionality and issue-based tracking, allowing users to track a candidate's stance on issues they care about throughout the debate series.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 on September 26 with a broadcast on all the major national television networks. Each historic television event captures more than 60 million worldwide viewers and will now include an entirely new audience online able to watch each debate via live web stream.
"We're thrilled to unveil the exciting toolset available now on MyDebates.org - users will be able to select the issues that matter most to them and see how they match up with the candidates as well as with other users across the country," said Lee Brenner, Director of IMPACT and Executive Producer of Political Programming at MySpace. "MyDebates.org will enable Americans to make the most of information presented during the debates, and personalize their experience and engage with the candidates and other voters in a groundbreaking manner."
"The CPD believes that the Internet can be used to personalize the debates in a way that allows for in-depth examination by individual citizens and joint discussion with others," said Janet Brown, Executive Director of the Commission on Presidential Debates. "Our partnership with MySpace is an important step forward into integrating new media into the debate series."
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, the results of which will be available for viewing following each debate. This format will reduce distraction while eliciting specific and valuable feedback. Media organizations are encouraged to use MyDebates.org polling data in their coverage of the debates.
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 unique toolset we created for MyDebates.org is an exciting step for us in continuing to provide a platform that promotes social and political engagement at every level," Tom Andrus, SVP of Product at MySpace. "We're thrilled to be part of shaping how Americans engage in the Democratic process."
MyDebates.org also includes a feature which will allow users to submit a question that may be presented to the candidates during the second presidential debate, a Town Hall format, moderated by Tom Brokaw on Tuesday, October 7. 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 third, and final, presidential debate will take place on Wednesday, October 15.
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).
(*) Among the top 2000 domains comScore Media Metrix, August 2008. For more information on comScore Networks, please go to http://www.comscore.com.
About the Commission on Presidential Debates
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.