Home Industry Development Google gets political ahead of election day
A shot from the Liberals' 'headless chooks' YouTube video A shot from the Liberals' 'headless chooks' YouTube video YouTube Featured

Tech giant Google has entered into Australia's political debate, launching an election YouTube channel ahead of the 7 September polling date.

The new channel is a hub for political videos from the 2013 federal election campaign and is made up of videos from media, political parties and the YouTube community.

Google spokeperson Johnny Luu described the channel as a one-stop shop for Australian voters to watch, share and discuss the videos that are shaping the campaign.

"People visit YouTube daily not just to be entertained but also to be informed, and also engage with each other on a variety of topics," Luu told iTWire.

“Two weeks into the campaign, we’ve already had millions of views of election-related videos on YouTube. Australians are increasingly coming online to watch political speeches, interviews, campaign ads and, of course, the occasional gaffe."

The web giant also compared the major parties, looking at their official channels’ number of subscribers, number of uploaded videos and the view count of their most popular videos.

 

Based on Google's research the Liberal Party has the highest number of total views, with their most popular video, an animated cartoon titled ‘The Headless Chooks in 'The Gillard Experiment', reaching over 400,000 views. It trumps Labor’s ‘Raising the Standards’ video, which calls for a stop to negative politics, with just over 86,000 views. The Greens’ top video, ‘Julia and Tony, stop delaying the inevitable’ on marriage equality, has 13,000 views.

"There's no magic formula for going viral," Luu said.

"The Labor party video is very serious, with Kevin Rudd taking directly to voters, whereas the Liberal's most popular video is a cartoon and a lot of work has gone into making it fun."

Meanwhile analysis by Google shows that advocacy organisation GetUp! is Australia’s top political campaigner on YouTube, with more subscribers and total videos views than all three political parties combined. Their top video, 'It’s Time' — an appeal for marriage equality (embedded below) — has clocked more than eight million views to date. Luu described the group as a "great example of the power of the platform."

"YouTube allows us to reach a significant audience, and a diversity of voices, and that's good for democracy," GetUp!'s National Director Sam McLean told iTWire.

"There's a lesson here for the major parties, and that is to focus on the issues," he said.

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David Swan

David Swan is a tech journalist from Melbourne and is iTWire's Associate Editor. Having started off as a games reviewer at the age of 14, he now has a degree in Journalism from RMIT (with Honours) and owns basically every gadget under the sun.

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