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Strictly Commercial: A Streaming Look at Presidential Campaigns Ads

Public Education
Goodman is aching to include a feature on The Living Room Candidate that allows users to create their own playlist of ads. He envisions customized and annotated presentations, where your Web-based work can be viewed and annotated by others for educational purposes or simply for fun. There would be absolutely no editing of content allowed, though, says Goodman. Why? "The short answer is: we don't want you to," he explains. Allowing users to edit ads could quickly degenerate into development of political parodies and detract from the reason the Museum wanted to make them available to the public in the first place.

Perhaps for nostalgic reasons, The Living Room Candidate skews to an older demographic (Goodman claims his grandmother loves it). "The majority of streamed content is industry-specific or highly promotional," explains Goodman. "This opens the door to streaming in general because before you figure out how to get streamed content, you have to decide you want it."

The public has embraced The Living Room Candidate as an unusual hybrid of entertainment and education. People are used to making allowances for educational sites being less aesthetically pleasing, so Goodman calls The Living Room Candidate "a stealth education site," because visitors learn without realizing it. Educators caught on, however, and The Living Room Candidate has become an educational resource widely used in schools. To facilitate academic use of the site, there are plans in place to offer lesson plans and additional material come September. "It will become more special interest, but wide special interest," explains Goodman.

The Museum has no plans to stop in the Living Room. Goodman says that this project was also intended as a proof-of-concept and that they have now been funded for a destination site for award-winning student films from top film schools. The 5-15 minute films will be available for free, but Goodman says that additional tiers of service that may require payment have not been ruled out. "Streaming media need not be as daunting as it seems to non-profits," according to Goodman. "We are the American Museum of the Moving Image, so if we can't provide leadership in this area we might as well call it a day."

End note:
A physical version of the Living Room Candidate is currently on display at the Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza in Dallas, Texas (running July 2, 2004-January 30, 2005).

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