Corning’s 6-minute video for CEO Wendell Weeks’ presentation to institutional investors and analysts in New York Feb. 4th has become the most-watched corporate video of all time on YouTube with more than 8.8 million views.
It showcases potential applications of the specialty glass and ceramics manufacturer’s products in electronics and everyday products. (Surprise as investor relations YouTube video goes viral | IR Web Report, 3/15/2011)
When will we see a video on proxy voting or corporate governance that goes viral? The closest I can recall is MoxyVote.com’s Cartoon. So far less than 3,500 views… a lot less than 8.8 million views. OK, there’s also the Story of Stuff’s Citizens United V. FEC with more than 57,000 views. Story of Stuff and the Center for Political Accountability seem to be bringing about real change re political contributions.
Political contributions can have serious consequences. The Supreme Court’ s Citizens United decision in January 2010 allowed companies, trade associations and unions to make independent expenditures. It ushered in a new era of political spending, laced with risk. Target’s stumble, in turn, taught companies that their freedom to spend can cause more harm than good.
Political spending can carry risks for corporations, their boards and shareholders. An increase may attract scrutiny from investors, the media, the public and prosecutors. While the exact amount of corporate money pumped into campaign advocacy last year remains unknown, any increase should give business leaders pause. Given the record $4 billion spent in the mid-term elections, if a new Watergate-style scandal erupts, corporations and their shareholders could suffer.
More than half of the S&P 100-listed companies — the largest in the U.S., and corporate governance trend-setters — are managing the risks of political spending by voluntarily adopting disclosure and accountability policies. Most of these companies are disclosing not only their contributions but also their payments to trade associations and other tax-exempt organizations that are used for political purposes. The companies all have board review. These policies should serve as a model for all companies. (How Companies Can Limit Political Spending Risks, Bruce Freed, Center for Political Accountability, 3/15/2011)
Opportunity is there. Will MoxyVote.com, ProxyDemocracy.org, ShareOwners.org, ProxyExchange.org or anyone else spark a true movement toward more grassroots democracy in corporate governance among retail investors through a video that goes viral?