What does user-generated content have to do with professional TV Production and broadcast?


What is the fabulous, extraordinary, and compelling thing that is user-generated content (UGC), and why is it relevant to production and broadcast professionals?

Long gone are the days when all the content we consumed was created by professionals. Today, almost the first reaction people have when something happens is to get out their phones. Thanks to the increasing sophistication of the technology in our pockets, nearly everyone has the power to capture quality content – and they are literally generating and sharing it with others around the clock and around the world.

Each day 95 million photos and videos are shared on Instagram alone. More than 1 billion hours of video are consumed on YouTube every day, and Facebook Watch has a global daily user base of 140 million, who spend an average of 26 minutes per day watching video.

But the question remains…

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Why is UGC relevant to TV production and broadcast?

Tell the untold

It’s possible to find user-generated videos of just about anything – viral clips of course, but also animals and nature, sport, science, weather, travel, news, and events. UGC gives producers access to amazing stories that might otherwise never be told.

The authentic and the engaging

When you’re in constant competition for eyeballs, authenticity, and emotionality are critical. During the pandemic, audiences had more time to consume and more time to create content. Shine a light on real moments, offer new perspectives, and deliver unfettered human emotion to audiences.
UGC is multifaceted content that connects directly with the audience precisely because it’s more engaging and trustworthy, and because of the way it makes them feel.

Keep a finger on the pulse of current events

Popular culture trends are changing, and within both factual and entertainment unscripted productions, reality shows, and documentaries are becoming increasingly popular. There is a huge opportunity in cause-driven content and stories that are immediately and indelibly applicable to every facet of human life. In 2020 UGC cemented its role as the arbiter of the national mood, so why not use it to tell stories that really get under the skin of the subject?

Attract the eyeballs, boost the ratings

Lockdown has meant there is now a content gap. Networks are slower to commission, cable is in decline, and with the population at home, streamers inventory is being exhausted. Competing means keeping pace, and in this context, unscripted shows are easier and faster to produce, and relatively cost-effective.

To give an additional incentive, the global streaming platforms themselves are increasingly investing in and commissioning unscripted shows. UGC offers a continuous supply of fresh content – vast archives, thousands of new videos every day, and crowdsourced content - and the opportunity to get more of the show's audience want into production and broadcast quickly.

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Tom Levin
Author

Tom Levin