June 12, 2022

The world of politics is constantly changing, and while hot topics ebb and flow with the 24-hour news cycle, there are also underlying trends that seem to define this “industry.” And if you look at the past couple of election cycles — and look ahead to this year’s midterms — you’ll notice something rather significant: The rise of video content. And, for better or worse, it’s having a noticeable impact on the larger political landscape.

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The Rise of Video Content

Online video content has experienced a steady upward trend over the last couple of decades. In fact, it was already poised for a major breakthrough prior to the pandemic. (In 2019, reports suggested that 82 percent of all created content would be video in 2020.) And then when the Coronavirus hit and lockdowns followed, that incredible consumer thirst for video content became even more insatiable. The pandemic took an already hot fire and basically doused it in gasoline.

Today, the average consumer pays for four different video streaming subscriptions. And 23 percent of consumers have added at least one more paid streaming service since March 2020. But it’s not just Netflix and Hulu. There are a number of relative newcomers making waves. This includes TikTok, Instagram Reels, Disney+, ESPN+, Peacock, YouTube TV, and more.

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Politicians and their campaign teams aren’t oblivious to this rise. In fact, they’ve contributed to it over the past couple of election cycles. And you can be certain that video will play an even more prominent role in campaigning over the next several years.

How Video Content Impacts the Political Landscape

Video content is no longer what it used to be when it was heavily gated and filtered by massive media companies and cable news outlets. Today, it’s accessible, digestible, and available in real-time. This democratization of video content is impacting the political landscape in a number of ways. Here’s a look at some of the big trends.

  1. Low-Budget Ad Campaigns

It used to be that political campaigns needed a six- or seven-figure budget to produce a quality video and share it at scale. Today, it’s being done for pennies on the dollar. Just ask Ed Durr, the truck driver from New Jersey who recently defeated NJ Senate president Steve Sweeney.

The 58-year-old father of three (and grandfather of six), estimates that he spent less than $10,000 on his campaign. By comparison, the previous opponent to democrat Sweeney in 2017 spent an estimated $5.4 million in ads and lost by 18 percentage points.

How was Durr so effective? One of the best things he did was produce videos like this, which were filmed with a simple smartphone and loaded to YouTube.  Without a medium such as this, it would have been nearly impossible for him to garner the support he did.