For big media, nothing says “we’re relevant” like a deal with Facebook or MySpace, or YouTube — no matter how thin the association may be. The NYT reports that ABC News has inked a content deal for political news with Facebook. The two will co-sponsor Democratic and Republican debates in New Hampshire on Jan. 5, three days before the primary election there.
One model would be CNN’s partnership with Google’s (GOOG) YouTube, where the news network brought YouTube on as a partner to liven up two of the primary debates it is hosting this year. The network said it expected users to upload 5,000 video questions for Wednesday’s Republican debate. When YouTube participated in a Democratic debate earlier this summer, ratings were above average but not spectacular.
Another version: MTV’s partnership with MySpace, which has essentially been a simulcast of the hour-long candidate forums MTV made famous in the 90s. MySpace has added some interesting functions, such as the ability to rate candidates; answers in real time.
Whatever gimmick ABC News and Facebook come up with, there isn’t a whole lot of downside for either party. ABC News–like all TV news networks–is searching for younger viewers. And Facebook gets to talk about something other than the backlash to its Beacon ad program.