I had high hopes for Barely Political, which created a brand with some politically-slanted viral hits featuring the lovely Amber Lee Ettinger (aka Obama Girl), but attempts to leverage the success of those viral hits to create an entertainment destination have, so far, fallen short.  At least for me. 

I can’t dismiss the effort just yet; the announcement of Barely Political’s acquisition by Next New Networks is just over a month old, and we know producers often need time to experiment to catch a groove…not to mention NNN ‘s very strong track record.  That said, I’ll offer some unsolicited feedback.

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Barely Political is a brilliant brand name with a built-in marketing tool — the very videos that made it a brand — but the content now associated with the website lacks cohesion.  It seems the production team has chosen to experiment with many different concepts without defining an over-arching feel or voice.  What kind of content can you find on Barely Political?  I’ve watched most of it, and I still don’t know.

What they have is a haphazard collection of unrelated political videos headlined by music videos that are too infrequent and too dissimilar to sustain a regular audience.  I suggest that the production team focus on a specific recurring series with recurring talent.   I could see this concept and a charming personality built into a headline series…

I appreciate the effort of the Ward Room series, of which there are about three installments, but it feels like an attempt to recreate the Daily Show online which, without a team of Harvard-educated writers, seems unlikely to resonate. And frankly, most of the jokes fall flat. 

It seems that creator Ben Relles is best suited for the seemingly time-consuming production of satirical music videos, which should serve as a marketing tool and ancillary for a Barely Political headline daily or weekly series.  The production of that show should perhaps be delegated to someone else.  This is a red hot concept in dire need of some creative direction. 

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