BBC To Start Paying For User-Gen Content


This is a big step in the user-generated content space: BBC will start paying for viewer contributed content, but only for material that is “particularly editorially important or unique”, reports Guardian. New guidelines tell BBC staff they can make payments to members of the public who send in footage from mobile phones or cameras, but “audiences should not be encouraged to think that payment is the norm“, which will definitely put more pressure on the editors in judging whether to pay or not.
The new editorial policy guidelines state: “In return for payment we may negotiate an assignment of copyright or exclusive rights – but bear in mind that material other than photographs may be copied and used by other news organizations under ‘fair dealing’.”
Vicky Taylor, the BBC’s head of interactivity, said that “We do not want to give people the impression that we will pay for hundreds of pieces of user-generated content,” said Ms Taylor. She said the only time the BBC has paid in the past for amateur footage was for video of the Concorde crash in Paris.
Channel Five recently announced it would pay viewers £100 for contributions it used on air.


Mark Metz

Paying for quality UGC is a trend that is plainly gaining momentum. The content can be somewhat general, as when Judys Book (I think it was them) was giving out $5 Starbucks cards for reviews, or very focused in the way Techdirt does it with their Insight Community. My company is having success with this as well.
And why not? There's a limit to what the BBC's own people can do, so it's great that they are opening it up and recognizing the value of user content. I suspect that the BBC will end up expanding the program when they see the benefits.

Dan Blank

Muhammad and Rafat: Perhaps I am viewing this from a more psychological way: my concerns lies in them controlling information flow. You both make great points. The BBC has such an amazing leadership position, I would simply love for them to offer something that truly taps the potential of user-generated media, or at the very least, the voice of the citizen.

Rafat Ali

Dan, I will agree with Muhammed. It may not be perfect, but at least they are trying…for them it is a low risk, low investment experiment to see what happens when they start paying for what they consider worth paying for. If anything it might give an indication of how they value these things.

Muhammad Saleem

Perhaps I'm not understanding what you are saying, or you didn't understand what BBC is doing. By giving people a monetary incentive, BBC can get audio, video, or photos from citizens on the scene to compliment whatever news is being reported.

How is this a step backwards? I think this is by all means a step forward.

Dan Blank

When large media organizations such as the BBC takes steps like this one, I can't help but feel they are missing the point. Their false sense of evolution into user-generated media will most likely set them back, rather than propel them forward.

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