Kudos to Comcast for making tonight’s vice presidential candidate debate available at Comcast On Demand “as early as Friday morning.” Beyond giving those who weren’t able to watch the debate live a chance to see it, On Demand will allow scholars, pundits, activists and even ordinary citizens the opportunity to watch it again, or replay interesting bits. Comcast said Wed it will also make the ensuing presidential candidate debates available at Comcast On Demand.

At least one outlet, abcnews.com, will stream the debates to its sites after they are shown on the linear channel. An ABC News official was uncertain when they would hit the Web site, but said they would appear “as soon as we can get them turned around.” The debate tomorrow night will last from 9pm-11pm ET. At the dawn of VOD, proponents said one of its benefits would be educational. Lessons for everything from musical instruments to surfing would be placed on VOD and, best of all, the material could be replayed repeatedly, a great learning tool and something unavailable in a classroom.

While the pure educational aspect of VOD remains in its infancy—Rainbow’s LifeSkool is the sole practitioner in the VOD space, offering a wide range of lessons—Comcast and C-SPAN, among others, offer citizens a heavy diet of election-year video. Comcast says these debates will mean its subscribers will have access to some 30 hours of content on the upcoming election. Some of that content, including the debates can be found at the joint-cable MSO project known as Elections ’08 Channel (E08), which got its start when cable operators informally discussed the addressable advertising project that has become Canoe Ventures.

In addition to non-partisan election content, such as Emmy winning shorts from History, there are a few political ads at the site, including one from the Democrats’ presidential hopeful, Senator Obama. By the time the next presidential election occurs, in 2012, presumably On Demand and streaming of debates will be commonplace. That is, of course, if someone can figure out how to make a profit with all that content.

The Daily


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