The Impact of 2010s Live Streaming State of The Union Address stateoftheunion 300x230 As if you were not already aware, tonight's State of the Union is bound to make history—perhaps more for its presentation and interactivity than for the contents of its message.

A few weeks back, I breathlessly raved about how YouTube was going to live stream the landmark court case on California's Proposition 8—and I was specifically excited about what that kind of thing might mean for the future (and legitimacy) of online video.

Of course, the Supreme Court decided to steal my joy—and invalidate my article—by striking down that decision, ruling that the proceedings could not be streamed on YouTube.  I was a little bummed.

Today, however, I have a second chance to wax poetic about a major event streaming live online and what it might mean for the world of online video.  And ultimately… this is maybe even a bigger deal than the court case would have been.  Because it's the State of the Union, streaming live right now!

And it's more than just YouTube participating in this little online viewing experiment.  UStream will show CBS's coverage.  Hulu will join YouTube in streaming the address.  And a few networks are hosting live viewings on their websites, including C-SPAN and CNN.  Oh, and the site will be showing it as well.

So there are plenty of choices for online viewing of President Obama's speech tonight, along with the usual television viewing options.  I, for one, am watching it online… simply because I finally can.  I cant conclude just yet what that experience will be like—or if it will even be different at all.

But I'm greatly encouraged by this move.  This is the Obama Administration (and really, the U.S. government) kind of giving the seal of approval to live streaming online.  If streaming online wasn't already legitimate—I've caught significant portions of The Masters, March Madness, and even NFL games online—it is now that Obama has weighed in.  And that can only be good news to people like the fine readers of this site.

ALSO ►  Beyond YouTube: Why MCNs are Looking to Other Video Platforms for New Opportunities

There's also an added element over at YouTube that promises to make this one of the more interactive State of the Union events in history, and it's called CitizenTube.  The President is encouraging viewers to respond to his address via CitizenTube, by posting questions to the site.  He will then respond to some selections pulled from the submissions directly on the site as well (apparently there will be a voting system enabled on the user-submitted questions, allowing the top vote-getters to be personally addressed by the President).

CitizenTube, and the interactive function it brings to this annual address, marks just yet another reason this State of the Union will be unlike any other.  It's the first that you can watch live online, and also the first you can personally respond to (while having at least a mathematical shot at having the president see your remarks).

I have no idea what this means in a specific sense.  I don't know that there are any solid predictions I can make about what this might lead to.  I suspect we'll see more and more high profile events stream live online, such as Senate hearings, global summits, and court cases.  But in a general way of speaking…  it should only serve to make online video a more prominent alternative to traditional content sources. As someone who talks to old school business owners about online video on a regular basis, I can assure you that there are still millions of Americans who aren't sure this YouTube thing is anything but a fad.  Having the President's State of the Union address stream live on YouTube is going to go a long way toward helping those business owners see online video as more of a necessity than a passing fancy.

  • Chad

    I just can't believe how awesome the streaming technology is. We definitely live in a golden age, and I can definitely seeing all televised media going in this direction in the near future.

    I'm watching the live streaming right now while simultaneously downloading software and browsing the web, and yet there are no "loading" screens, "buffering" screens, or hiccups of any kind. This is what the internet should be like all of the time.

  • lornamcdonald

    While I respect Gov. McDonnell's right to offer his response as the chosen speaker of the Republican party, I am a little bit put off by the form in which they chose to present their view. It looks too much, to me, like a college debate team competition. The Republican response is needed. It's a part of the process, but, really, couldn't they have come up with a less juvenile way to present what they had to say? I imagine it would be intimidating for ANYONE to have the job of following President Obama... his State of the Union Address tonight was simply amazing, historic even. How fortunate we, as Americans, are to have such an intelligent, dedicated and insightful head of state...

    • Ronnie Bincer

      I for one, don't think Obama used the pulpit as he should have. It seems he is still on the campaign trail (or is that what being a US president has turned into now?). I don't believe the platform of the state of the union should be used for pushing what the current President wants, but to explain where we are ... the State of the Union.

      Re. following up Prez O. It is easy to follow him up if one looks at facts about what his campaign said would happen and what has happened. "Everything will be transparent... Shown on C-Span... etc." What happened? Is this "Change"?

      Sorry for getting so political, but as you started the conversation as a political statement, I guess I felt compelled to follow up with the "balanced perspective". But as a video online guy, it is cool that the deal was streamed for all to see in the net.

      I didn't watch the rebuttal, but heard that it was in an environment with an audience. That sounds like a cool way to do it rather than the former "sterile" responses in the past for either side. Kinda makes it like a balanced presentation of perspectives, don't you think? As for you mentioning the rebuttal seeming like a "Debate".... I guess that might be called for if the "State of the Union" was not presented as such but more of a continuation of the presidential campaign
      (especially slamming Judges for doing their job -- Three branches, each doing their part, its how our system works.) - Media corps can have their say but private corps can't, come on. If you still think that "news" (owned by private corporations) is unbiased (on either side) you are living in a dream world, but I think you most likely know that. And Obama saying there are no limits! What a lie, there will still be far more limits on Private Corporations than there will ever be on the "news" media corporations.

      In case you can't tell I think Obama is neither Insightful nor intelligent. But I would say he is dedicated to his agenda, I'm just not a fan of his agenda, and I think that a lot of folks are surprised by what they are learning what it is! If he were intelligent he might learn from what the people are saying lately instead of thinking that the American people are a bunch of boobs that just don't get it so he'll just have to show us "the way"!

      Anyway... Have a good day personally :-)

      • lornamcdonald

        My initial knee-jerk reaction was a bit hasty, and in reading your response, I can understand your points. Clearly, we don't need to agree, that's normal and sometimes needed in order to develop an objective point of view. I stand by my belief that President Obama is an intelligent man. But I will consider your idea that he sees American's as not so smart. That is not how I've seen his approach, but now I am giving it a new look. Meanwhile, I continue to be a strong supporter of his policies, but I admit that maybe I need to broaden my own perpsective. Thanks, and have a great day too.

        • Ronnie Bincer

          Your response to my reply was so kind and thoughtful I really wanted to thank you for being as civil & kind as you were.
          Thanks... It's good to know that not all bantering back and forth has to go into cruelness which I believe the two of us were successful in avoiding. Bravo! (Woof Woof! - Big Lick of love!)
          VSEO Hound

        • lornamcdonald

          Call me a hopeless idealist, but I do believe that fair, open debate is possible between people like us who hold different views and who come from different perspectives. The only way I'm going to learn why someone has a radically different opinion than mine is if I try and hear what they are saying, and that is so much easier to do when they present themselves, as you did, rationally and with at least some degree of patience. Doesn't mean that we're going to agree, but at least we can begin to try and understand why we see things so differently. So thanks for your rational response too.

          Maybe we should go into politics... Take care, and woof back at ya.