UGTV Draws an Old Media Crowd


Attendance last night at the UGTV conference in New York showed traditional media is taking user-generated content seriously.

Representatives from Disney/ABC, NBC, CBS, MTV, and the BBC joined new media companies including Heavy Joost and in a discussion over the disrupted industry that is television and where new media is taking us. Questions abound as to how UGC will be monetized — especially since it seems ad companies are most interested in servicing professional video.

The key, according to MTV’s Kenny Miller, is that UGTV needs to be good TV. Most content consumed online is professionally produced. Joey Jodar of said that the TV category remains the most viewed area of that site.

While there is a massive amount of UGC online thanks to the democratization of production and distribution, promotion is the one area in which mainstream media still has a strong advantage.

Shelly Palmer, who runs the Emmy’s Advanced Media Committee and produces a video podcast, was the only true UGC producer on the panel. Time, these days he said is the only real barrier to entry for content creators. To edit together a daily podcast takes time, and creating a five-minute video that looks good takes skill. Palmer believes that passion is what will set successful content creators apart.

For the mainstream media companies, their aim is to increase interaction. One of the ways MTV is doing this is with a feature called “vomments”, viewer comments which show up as pop-up messages overlaid on video. Users on can interact with everyone watching or to limit vommenting only to their friends (screenshot below; see our coverage from MTV’s presentation at another New York video event).

Degrassi_vomments, despite getting the most traffic from TV content, has successfully monetized UGC and is proud of it. Heavy generates interest with innovative contests and sponsorship option such as its Canadian Contraband battle of the bands, which Virgin Mobile is sponsoring. The advantage for aggregated content sites like Heavy is that the most-watched videos drive views of other content, and thus other ads, improving the overall bottom line.

The vast majority of independent content producers will never reach an audience large enough to monetize their content in the same way that mainstream media does, but they won’t need to. As UGC provides more specific content, it will allow greater opportunities for marketers to get closer to the people they most want to reach, and that will be far more valuable than traditional advertising.


Drew Robertson

Ben – an excellent wrap of the UGTV meeting. Here was my take-away from Wednesday night. As Shelly noted several times: making good video on a regular basis is really hard work. And even if you do, the producer needs to attract an audience — with few exceptions, if you build it, they still won’t come. It’s hard work promoting programming in this fragmented media environment even for big guys like MyNetwork or MSNBC. But let’s say you’ve got the attention of TechCrunch or Oprah and are known by your target audience. You still have to persuade advertisers that you have an audience they’ll want to reach and that’ll you’ll be around next year. They need ratings and reliability. Both Yahoo and AOL had a weak showing this year in their “upfronts”. One reason is that advertisers don’t have a clear idea what those platforms will look like next year. A UGTV producer or aggregator has that problem in spades. With so many non-creative barriers to success, it makes sense for him to hook up with an organization that already has the promotion, distribution and advertising pieces in place. A broadcast network fits that bill.


UGTV is the next step in fragmenting mainstream’s audience. For the audience, things have never been more exciting! UGTV (micro-produced) is personal – it connects. Both mass-produced and micro-produced content will live and be healthy – more choice is a great thing for consumers.

Come to think of it, I no longer read Daily Variety, I read!

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