Over the last month a whole raft of user-generated TV initiatives have been announced. For example:
- Flextech have launched Trouble Homegrown.
- MTV have announced they'll be launching an 'audience-controlled channel brand'.
- Both BBC and Channel 4 announced user-generated comedy sites.
At an industry event I met a man who claimed: "Porn used to be the highest margin content in the world. User-generated content is higher."
If this is true, it's clear why broadcasters want to get involved... but what will distinguish the winners from the losers?
Time will tell, but here are some thoughts.
1. Make the question interesting What motivates a user to create and upload content? There is the YouTube approach - create a giant area for all types of content.
There is also a more niche approach - combine user-generated content (UGC) with a TV show that focuses the desire for users to contribute. We believe this is a rich seam. We've been talking to TV producers and broadcasters as we launch BloomBox and it seems the possibilities are almost endless. UGC could well be the next wave of reality TV.
(This iMedia Connection article demonstrates five contrasting approaches to framing the question for user-generated advertising.)
2. Ease of use Vimeo set the standard for uploading and previewing clips. YouTube gets our vote for community features, helping the user get widespread viewership of his clip. I'm yet to see a broadcaster's UGC initiative that can match these.
3. Network effects - success breeds success Lots of bytes have been spilt trying to explain MySpace's success (here's a good article). I'd wager that networks effects are the most important. Content creators want an audience. Popular sites become more popular. (To demonstrate, MySpace isn't the social networking leader everywhere. It is trounced by Orkut in Brazil and Bebo in Ireland).
This post wasn't supposed to be an advert but the first two factors show where BloomBox excels. BloomBox removes the technical hassle from user-generated content, freeing producers to make the question interesting. It's ease of use, as we will be able to reveal soon, is excellent.
Get these two right and the compounding reward of network effects will kick in. You'll be as rich as a porn king.
Extra reading: Cracking NY Times article on some of the dangers of user-generated advertising.