The wonderful world of UGV and why it offers producers and broadcasters more opportunities to delight audiences than they think

The use of user-generated video (UGV) in TV and film production is certainly not a new phenomenon.  It’s been seen everywhere - from news channels, documentaries, online shows, branded content, commercials, factual entertainment, and reality TV.

But the last two years have been difficult and eventful for broadcasting and production.  The global pandemic left significant gaps in schedules, and all traditional expectations for impactful productions such as big budgets, high production value and complex studio set-ups were impacted. Even as we approach the end of 2021, Covid has left a legacy of fragmented teams, remote working, time, and financial pressures for both production teams and broadcasters.   

The pandemic also created a seismic shift in viewing habits.  Pre-Covid, TV viewing was often associated with unwinding and escapism.  Whilst the need to escape still prevailed during the endless months of lockdown, viewers also began to seek a sense of connection and unique content in the sea of repeats and reruns.  Viewing habits became increasingly non-linear, as audiences explored the rich, deep, and varied content catalogues of on-demand streaming providers and social channels.

No wonder then that many broadcasters and production houses turned to UGV to help them keep pace with audience desires.



Responding to audience desires with UGV

More than ever before, audiences are actively seeking something very real, very visceral, and very inspiring.  Shows that deliver a richer and more holistic understanding of the world, productions that give a voice to those who rarely get heard in mainstream media, and urgent and relevant stories (those of ordinary people and those that resonate with the human heart).  They want the shows they invest time in to be thought-provoking, original, highly topical, and above all they desire strong visual storytelling, as evidenced by the growth of IGTV, Facebook Watch and YouTube.

When it comes to programming and filmmaking in 2022, UGV will offer the greatest opportunity to producers and broadcasters looking to make and commission fresh, original shows.


UGV is the greatest show on earth

In the UGV world, everyday a new star is born, and a new story is waiting to be told.  UGV is an invaluable storytelling tool because it is unparalleled in terms of its authenticity, connection, and relevance to the audience, whilst also being unparalleled in its ability to be truly immersive.  It captures what’s otherwise, unseen and untold moments, in raw and exciting ways that simply cannot be manufactured.  As such, UGV helps to deliver truly compelling storytelling narratives and the deeper connection to the action that audiences crave.

Let’s look at a few examples:

  • Fails and funnies: I always say UGV is not just cute cats and people falling over.  But sometimes it is just that, and that’s OK.  UGV fail footage on YouTube is this generation’s version of America’s Funniest Home Videos or You’ve Been Framed.  Jay Leno once said “humour doesn’t change.  If you watch a comedy from the 1920’s, the fat, rich man stepping out of the Cadillac and into mud is just as funny now”.  The difference now is that the person falling into mud is real, with someone there to record it on a smartphone and upload it to the Newsflare platform. 

    Audiences will always be drawn to the appeal of fails and funnies.  A recent Comedy Central series made using Newsflare UGV almost exclusively, resulted in viewing figures 58% above the slot average and racked up the channel’s highest rated daily viewing figure.  


Dramatic moment couple falls off swing during wedding ceremony


  • Climate and weather: There have been big-budget Hollywood films about extreme weather events; it’s the stuff of many great factual documentaries, and there are even highly successful reality shows entertaining us with the world’s funniest weather videos.  Because it’s not just weather itself that’s a cause of fascination, but the human stories about how it impacts so many aspects of our lives that truly capture the imagination.  Enter UGV.  

Raw footage of every conceivable weather event has been captured by filmers on smartphones, Go Pros, and drones.  UGV provides a fresh angle and unique human story that would otherwise go undocumented.  


  • Sport: Audiences want to live and breathe their favourite sports.  Sure, they want to watch live matches and events, but they also want immersive experiences, they want to capture the zeitgeist and the meaningful stories behind the action.  After all, sport is not just about the game or even the trophies. It’s about the passion, the fans, the sense of community and shared experience.  

As well as exploring the stories of success and sporting triumph, UGV also offers a chance to shine a light on the darker side of sport, opening eyes and minds to the human stories behind the glory, such as prejudice and racism, stories the media doesn’t typically cover.


  • Moments that matter:  Some of the most important stories of recent years have largely unfolded thanks to UGV.  Evolving from its roots in the reporting of the Arab Spring, it’s increasingly become a vehicle through which human rights, gender, and environmental issues are made public.  Follow the video and you follow the story.  

UGV offers the opportunity to deliver stories grounded in a moment.  It allows producers to not simply tell a story, but to show the actual moment the story took place, from a range of perspectives.  UGV is a powerful storytelling tool that fosters a deeper understanding of shared struggles, greater context and comprehension to factual show making. A great example of this was the Sky News coverage of the Sarah Everard vigil.  Using entirely UGV, this presented an incredible timeline of the story as events unfolded.


Climate activists stage threesome to call for boycott of London


  • How-to’s and life hacks:  Pearls of wisdom, little gems of knowledge that make life easier, giving and receiving advice - this is the modern-day life hack video phenomenon.   UGV offers a never-ending supply of this genre, and it’s the stuff of great show making – from time and money savers, cleaning, cooking, parenting and pet care to make up tutorials, DIY tutorials and home makeovers.

This is just a taste of the wonderful world of user-generated video.  Newsflare has lots more waiting to inspire you…


Get started with UGV

Life, with all its colour and craziness, sights and sounds, triumphs, and tragedies, is the greatest show on earth. A spectacle that demands to be shared with audiences everywhere, through engaging, captivating, and enthralling user-generated video. 

Newsflare makes accessing and getting high quality UGV into production easy.  We specialise in sourcing and verifying videos of every genre and format to production companies around the world. You can search and license from 235,000 videos filmed by our diverse community; we'll help you find the content your production needs or crowdsource content by putting our 45,000 creators to work on bespoke footage.  

Get in touch with a member of our team to find out how we can help you get started with UGV.


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