Visitors will be able to watch all live speeches from the floor of both the Republican and Democratic National Conventions and view live streams of the official Presidential and Vice Presidential debates.
The site also offers Google+ Hangouts with behind-the-scenes power brokers.
"You won't need to go anywhere else for the must-watch moments of this election cycle," YouTube's official blog touts. "They're all happening here live."
Herein lies the most interesting kernel of this announcement: the word live. This is a first for YouTube.
During the 2008 Presidential campaign, YouTube no doubt played a role, but it was more a vehicle for delivering campaign ads, announcements, debate questions, clips of previously broadcast content and, of course, user-uploaded videos, like Obama Girl's Crush On Obama, that became viral internet memes overnight. However, there was no live-streaming on YouTube of any aspect of the election in 2008.
By streaming free, live content of this year's presidential campaigns, the YouTube Election Hub marks a significant shift, not only in what role the Web's most popular video-sharing site plays in delivering election coverage, but how viewers consume it.
According to a 2010 survey by the Pew Internet and American Life Project, more Americans get their news from the Internet than from newspapers and radio.Three-fourths say they're alerted to news from email-updates and social media sites.
By catering to this online majority in a more mature way, YouTube cleans up its image. Instead of being known as the home of juvenile videos and rehashed clips, YouTube is now stepping into the adult arena of original content.
And don't think the traditional, major media outlets haven't taken notice. ABC News, Al Jazeera English, BuzzFeed, Larry King, The New York Times, Phil DeFranco, Univision and the Wall Street Journal have all signed on to deliver live and on-demand reporting and analysis on YouTube's Election Hub. This isn't the first time major networks have collaborated with YouTube, but this unilateral pooling-of-resources is certainly happening on a much larger scale than ever before.
This collaboration does two things and it benefits both parties: First off, it gives YouTube a more-reputable street cred on the mean, starched-collared streets of Mainstream Mediaville.
Secondly, it gives established media organizations a coveted invitation to the au courant online party hosted by the cool kids, a place they've awkwardly struggled to fit in as of late. (Here's looking at you, NBC, and your Olympic coverage.)
Let the games begin.