User-Generated Content Discussion at Future of Television

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This panel at the Future of Television focused on user generated content, it’s role and the ways in which it can add value..

Ken Todd, VP, Content, Showtime Networks
Richard Titus, Head of User Experience, BBC Future Media & Technology
Ivana Ma, Partner & President, New Media, Generate
Moderator: Rohit Bhargava, Author, Personality Not Included / SVP, Digital Strategy & Marketing, Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide

What’s the role of UGC?

Much of UGC is seem as being funny and somewhat irrelevant. However,the BBC gets lots of content from citizen journalists who send in content and blogs are some of the most heavily trafficked sites on the network.

UGC also has a major role in contests. Ivana described how when a music contest incorporated UGC and was framed as competing communities (eg, Colleges), really made the contest a much bigger success.

UGC also plays a role as brand evangelists. Ken spoke about how they used a site to have people write fan lit and have people vote on the content. He also spoke about a UGC contest using the them song from Weeds – Little Boxes. The prize was playing five of the songs on TV, with a grand prize of $10,000. He says it has proven very successful for Showtime.

What role do bloggers play?

Ken speaks about how they can play the role of uber fans (Super Fans). They can have a huge impact. Ken says they have started treating these uber bloggers as they would reporters, sending them press kits and advance on shows.

Richard speaks about how bloggers have now added a new voice to the conversation. He says blogging has made the BBC wake up and work harder.

Ivana points out that brands have taken an interest and started courting bloggers. Richard asks that since bloggers are more likely to be easier to buy off than the traditional media, does that make them more interesting to brand advertisers. ( What BS – like the auto mags don’t demand advertising for reviews.)

Is it money or is it attention and micro-fame?

Some do it to communicate, others want that small moment of fame. If they are doing it for money, its not there yet. You just have to look at the content and you will usually see what the motivation is. Richard points to the opportunity for blogs to generate huge momentary fame based on controversial content.

What about the cost of supporting UGC?

The cost of supporting UGC should also be recognized. Supporting this content is not free. It takes substantial moderation and infrastructure costs. Richard says that the conversation is going on and if the BBC wants to be part of it they will have to bear the cost.

[tags]Future of Television, user generated content[/tags]

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