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Yahoo! to stream web-only US Prez debate

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Not to be outdone by Google and YouTube, Yahoo! will soon host the first web-only U.S. presidential debate.

Also set for the sites of co-sponsors Slate and The Huffington Post, the September 12 streaming-video event will feature all eight Democratic presidential candidates, including Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, The Washington Post reports.

As with the recent CNN/YouTube debate, which aired on nationwide cable television, this debate will allow tech-happy voters to submit video questions via the web. But in contrast to the CNN/YouTube face-off, the Yahoo! event will only be broadcast online, additional questions will be taken in real-time, and everyone will be spared Anderson Cooper. Hosting duties will be handled by PBS talk-show host Charlie Rose.

The Post, whose parent company owns Slate, also says that viewers will have the ability slice and dice the online broadcast. They can choose to watch nothing but Hillary Clinton, for instance, or filter out everything but questions on Iraq. It's unclear if this can be done in real-time at time of the initial broadcast. Yahoo!, Slate, and The Huffington Post did not immediately respond to requests for clarification.

The debate comes at a time when Yahoo! is working overtime to make up lost ground to Google and YouTube in the web video race. Bloomberg reports that by the end of year, the company will completely revamp its video offerings, adding music videos, movie trailers, television shows, and sports highlights as well as content created by internet users.

"One of our strategies is to put video everywhere you are on the Internet," said Mike Folgner, Yahoo's general manager for video. "We're going to build a much better destination for you to access all this different content."

According to Folgner, record companies including Universal Music Group and the EMI Group will provide music videos, the Associated Press and CNN will fork over news clips, and sports highlights will arrive from the National Football League and Major League Baseball.

This past May, according to research firm comScore, three out of every four American internet users streamed video from the web, viewing 8.3bn separate streams, and 21.5 per cent of those streams were served up by Google. Yahoo! accounted for 4.6 per cent. ®

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