Obama’s final State of the Union to stream on YouTube and Amazon
Staff Reporter | On 11, Jan 2016Reading time: 3 mins
Barack Obama will go down in history as the Digital President – and he’s not about to let his online title slide, with his final State of the Union address able to stream on YouTube and Amazon.
YouTube has become something of a regular hangout for Obama, who has always broadcast his SOTU speeches live on the web. Once again, he will take to the site afterwards for an interview – not with pundits or political journalists, but with vloggers. This year,
“We’re going to have 21st century fireside chats where I’ll speak directly to the American people in a way that I think will enhance democracy and strengthen our government. “ – Senator Barack Obama, November 15, 2007
Tomorrow evening, President Obama will deliver his final State of the Union address to Congress, which will broadcast live on YouTube. Then, as he has every year after the speech, he’ll turn to YouTube and Google to take questions from Americans about the issues that matter to them.
This Friday, January 15,
education vlogger Destin Sandlin, fashionista Ingrid Nilsen and gamer Adande Thorne will be the three web celebs quizzing the Presidnet. On Friday 15th January, they will travel to the White House to host the live interview, with the whole thing on the White House’s video channel. (Question suggestions can be submitted using the #YouTubeAsksObama hashtag.)
But that’s just the beginning: for the first time, Obama will also make his speech available to stream on Amazon Instant Video. After the speech has been streamed live on the White House website and YouTube, it will be uploaded to Amazon’s video platform for on-demand viewing, alongside past addresses from the President.
“Around this time each year, our job in the Office of Digital Strategy has been to find new or expanded ways for the American people to engage with the President’s address,” writes White House Office of Digital Strategy Jason Goldman. “That means meeting people where they are — and in this day and age, that starts by recognizing that even people following on two screens don’t just flip back and forth between a TV and a smartphone. We jump from different social media platforms — and we have shifting assumptions about the type of experience we’ll have on each.”
“Whether you use a smart TV, web browser, mobile device, or tablet there’s a way for you to watch the President’s speech as it happens and on-demand.”
The technological tactics don’t stop there: marked-up versions of the President’s previous SOTU speeches are also available on the website Genius, a lyrics and annotations service that allows for line-by-line interactive commentary. This is also the first time that the White House has used the site to reach an online audience, with people such as Vice President Joe Biden and former Director of Speechwriting Jon Favreau contributing their notes.
“Throughout his time in office, President Obama has used technology to open up the doors (all 412 of them) to the White House—from posting behind-the-scenes photos of life in the West Wing to uploading a weekly address on the most pressing topics facing the nation,” writes YouTube. “We look forward to helping future presidents connect with Americans in compelling ways.”
Obama even has a Snapchat account now too, with the White House offering users behind-the-scenes snaps of preparations for the speech – although, to be in keeping with the Presidential Records Act, the White House’s Snapchats are never deleted. As a side effect, the President’s digital legacy will live on – setting a high standard for anyone after him.
Just don’t look at Donald Trump’s Twitter account.
You can stream the 2016 State of the Union address live on YouTube at 9pm EST on Tuesday 12th January – and see President Obama interviewed by YouTubers at 2:15 p.m. EST on Friday 15th January.