This campaign has seen a number of parties try a number of things to get their message out. It has also seen a number of attacks on members of the media, from all sides, alleging bias in on direction or the other. There have also been accusations of reporters not doing their job. I will leave that discussion up to others. But I have been interested in watching the Internet Party’s approach to by pass the news cycle.
On the 7th of September the Internet Party rolled out a video on their Youtube channel called Not the Six O’Clock news. The videos focus on Laila Harre presenting a mock 6pm news bulletin:
There have been parties in New Zealand that have done semi regular video diaries before. National have done it, on and off, with back bench MPs, all the way up to the Prime Minister. I think I recall Labour doing the odd one, but not as many as National. The Greens have also done some video content, mainly during the campaign, and not so much during the term (that I have seen). But what is new is a party producing an almost daily news style video for supporters. But this fits with the Internet Party style.
The idea behind the videos is to present the version of the days events as the Internet Party sees it. It is obviously designed to counter the way the party feels it has been portrayed in the mainstream media. There have been a number of instances where the Internet Party has made clear its frustrations with the way it sees the media as portraying it. We have had Pam Corkery’s comments to reporters at their campaign launch, the press conference after the Moment of Truth event and the issues around the cannabis policy. These have all played into the party’s view that the media are misrepresenting them, or focusing on elements of events that they would rather they didn’t. The videos do fit well with the we are here to shake things up and we are going to speak out mind approach the Internet party have been taking.
The question is how successful they have been in getting the message out and convincing people to vote for them. For political videos, some of them have had very high numbers of views. Episode 1 at over 3200 and episode 7 at over 6300. So they are getting views. How many of them are from supporters and how many are from opponents and how many are from people who might be persuaded to change their vote, I am not sure. The comments, which there aren’t a huge number of, are split about 75% support, 20% negative/attack and 5% just plain odd. There wasn’t much in the way of concerted discussion about the issues though. It would have been interesting to see how this sort of project would have grown, given a longer time frame, would there have been an increase in the level of engagement?
I don’t expect to see this sort of approach being picked up by any other party in future campaigns. It is the sort of approach that fits with a party that has an anti establishment element to it, but at the same time has significant resources. Having said that, it is a good approach. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a greater emphasis on video based campaigning in the future, but I would expect it to be much more casual in its approach.