Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu answers your questions live on YouTube

Two weeks ago, YouTube and Israel’s Channel 2 News asked you to submit your questions for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Thousands of you responded, from more than 90 countries, and while a large portion of questions were submitted from users across the Arab world, including Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Egypt, Jordan, many also from farther corners like Japan, Pakistan, Canada, Nepal, and Venezuela.
Today, at 11:10 am PST, Prime Minister Netanyahu will answer the top-voted questions from around the world, and you can watch the interview live at

One topic which attracted hundreds of questions by users worldwide was the the fate of the kidnapped Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit. People also posted about about negotiations and chances for peace with the Palestinians, the recent upheavals in the Middle East, and housing and gas prices in Israel.

To see which questions Netanyahu will answer, and how he’ll respond, please visit the World View channel at 11:10 am or check back later today to see it in its uploaded form.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Footage from the Scene: London Protests Turn Destructive

Cross-posted from YouTube Trends Blog

Anti-spending cuts protests, which are said to have been attended by up to 500,000 people, went from peaceful to destructive Saturday in London after the demonstrations were reportedly hijacked by "violent anarchists." Many attendees and bystanders uploaded hundreds of on-the-scene accounts depicting both sides to the day's events. A sample of that footage is available in the playlist below:

(Use the arrows to navigate between videos or watch them all here.)

Related: In another form of protest, a UK rapper has targeted Britain's Health Secretary with a viral rap video that's drawing a lot of buzz. It's currently one of the Most Viewed videos on the country. Here's some backstory.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Tim Pawlenty’s video guru, Lucas Baiano, talks politics, video and Ronald Reagan

On Monday, former Minnesota Governor dipped more than a toe into the Republican nomination pool...and he did so in a blockbuster-style video that is more reminiscent of a multi-million dollar car commercial than a shaky handy-cam video. With his announcement video and his epic Courage to Stand mini bio-pic, Pawlenty is fast becoming the candidate to beat in terms of web video.

We sat down with the brains behind Pawlenty’s video operation, 23 year-old Lucas Baiano to learn more about how he wrestles with web video, political preferences, and portraying the emotional quotient of a candidate.

1. How do you approach creating video for the web, rather than for television?

For my generation, the web is becoming the preferred choice. I think
smart candidates are beginning to recognize that you need to incorporate all social media elements in order to create and establish a successful campaign. The web allows for more creativity with fewer restrictions. It's real and and less filtered. The most significant benefit is that you can engage your audience and allow them to interact in terms of sharing, comments and unlimited viewing. This has revolutionized the way an audience views and experiences media.

Visual / interactive media and online features will play a prime role and be a significant component of as time progresses. Innovation is key. America will have to stay tuned - we’ve only just begun.

2. Your videos for Pawlenty have been described as “cinematic”. Do you think that political video is moving in a “blockbuster” direction this cycle, or is there still room for the handy-cam video?

Cinematic style happens to be my creative style. It's never been 'boring' and it's never been done to this extent in the political forum, so I'm excited to be pioneering a new frontier. Feedback has been positive - my generation of voters is connecting to these videos and becoming more interested in the political process and the candidates.

3. You supported Hillary in the last cycle. What made you shift to Pawlenty? Are you motivated by politics or by film?

Honestly, by both. Film and politics are my two great interests. Having the opportunity to combine them in this way is a tremendous creative canvas but you also need the most important element to connect them -- a compelling story. I try to find the EQ, the Emotional Quotient, within the person's story. With Governor Pawlenty, his is the American Story. At a young age, he had to overcome personal tragedy, challenge and hardship. Now he’s achieved so much. That's the definition of inspiration. He would make a great President and a great role model for our young generation facing their own struggles and hardships in an economic climate that's not so favorable.

4. What is one piece of advice you’d give someone looking to make political video?

When I was starting, I looked for every opportunity I could find in the field. I worked long hours for little pay, but I worked tremendously hard. If you don't take the opportunities that present themselves, someone else will, and through these opportunities, you learn and grow. Perfect your skills, be persistent, and when the right opportunity comes, you'll be prepared.

Frank Capra (Wonderful Life) once said, "Don't follow trends.....start them".
That's about the best advice I've ever heard and I keep that in mind while producing every project.

5. What is your favorite political video?

The original 1980s Morning in America ad for Ronald Reagan. A good message is timeless!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Pawlenty jumps in 2012 race with YouTube video

Today, in a YouTube video, former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty, announced that he would form an exploratory committee to consider a run for the Republican nomination in 2012. Here's the video:

The video marks the first announcement from a major Republican candidate, and Pawlenty has set the bar high. The polished and professional video is a departure from the announcement videos we saw in 2007, which were more of the straight-to-camera variety. See President Obama's announcement, for example:

Pawlenty's well-thought-out video announcement is not a surprise. He has already built out a YouTube channel with hundreds of videos, most notably January's "Courage to Stand," which has over 160,000 views.

We'll be waiting to see if other candidates enter the Republican field in a similar, closely-edited manner, or if they craft a YouTube strategy all their own.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Tsunami Videos Draw Views Throughout the Weekend

Cross posted from the YouTube Trends blog.

Nearly all of the weekend's Most Shared and top Trending videos were related to the devastating earthquake and subsequent tsunami that occurred Friday in Japan. Today, seven out of our top 10 Trending Topics are related to the disaster.

Initially, we were seeing an influx of video from the earthquake itself, with many of those videos rapidly accruing thousands of views. As more video became available of the tsunami itself, clips of the damage caused by the raging water were heavily shared and embedded on a variety of blogs -- among them were both dramatic clips from Japan as well as on-the-scene footage of the earthquake's effects in Hawaii and the west coast of the United States.

The tsunami arrives at the city of Iwaki, JapanThe view from inside Sendai Airport.

Both of these clips purport to show the tsunami reaching Kona, Hawaii:

Another video reportedly showing the tsunami reaching Emeryville, CA also drew significant attention.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Local Newscasts on the Republican Spending Plan

The Senate Democratic Policy and Communications Committee just released the below video about how the Republican budget plan would impact local communities. Rather than having prominent Senate Democrats make their case, the Senate Democratic Committee spliced together clips from local newscasts around the country about how the budget cuts will specifically impact their area . Regardless of your opinion about the budget cuts themselves, the use of local newscasters as the voices of dissent is a creative approach to get the Democrats' message out.

Monday, March 7, 2011

What Wisconsin is Watching as Debate Continues

Cross posted from the YouTube Trends blog.

Videos highlighting protests and the union debate in Wisconsin continue to be heavily shared and watched in some of the state's biggest cities Monday, according to our Trends Dashboard. The Most Shared and Most Viewed videos today in Madison and Milwaukee run the gamut of both opinion and tone. Some are sentimental, while others are humorous or critical. Here's a sample:

Michael Moore adresses crowdA thank you to "Fab 14 Senators"

A primer from the Heritage FoundationTribute video

A "report" from YouTube celeb Chad VaderA hip-hop protest video

Also, just rising on Madison's Most Shared list is this protest flashmob performance from the movie, Newsies.