Meredith, NCC Expand Politics on Demand

Channel Will Offer Issue Videos -- and Political Commercials

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You demanded it, now you've got it. The country's cable and satellite operators have created a video-on-demand package called "Your Vote," allowing you to watch short clips about politics and lengthy campaign commercials whenever you want.

OK, maybe you didn't demand it yet. But after an experiment during the 2008 campaign season and more recent, more encouraging tests, cable and satellite operators around the country are adding "Your Vote" to their on-demand offerings.

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"Your Vote" will be part of the new "My Government on Demand" channel, which lets elected officials pay to make videos aimed at constituents available on demand. But unlike the constituent communications piece, "Your Vote" will tap campaign and issue groups' money.

Short programs created for "Your Vote" by Meredith Video Studios, part of Meredith Corp., will address subjects like how to register, the importance of voting and the history of the political parties. Those segments won't include commercials and won't likely be sponsored by anyone. But Meredith's collaborator on "Your Vote," NCC Media, is trying to get campaigns and advocacy groups to pay to place their own longer-form messages there too.

NCC Media is an ad sales, marketing and technology organization representing cable, satellite and telecommunications companies across the U.S.. Individual cable, satellite and telco companies can also sell campaign and issue messages.

"We're trying to drive the use of longer-form on-demand political advertising," said Andrew Capone, senior VP of marketing and business development at NCC. "To do that we wanted to make sure we had a programming bed in place. That's the quid pro quo for viewers. You can't just have nothing but commercials."

The audience might not be huge, Mr. Capone admitted, but he said that's OK. "Cable is a collection of niche programming entities," he said. "I don't think the assumption is people are going to furiously start pressing away to start looking at political content."

But since the 2008 experiment, a "toe in the water" that did not find a lot of sales success, there have been more recent encouragements. Meg Whitman, who is running for governor of California, has already paid to make campaign messages available on video on demand, Mr. Capone said.

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