Why user-generated content will be the most disruptive and far-reaching influence on the future of news media.

Person taking a photo with a phone

Why user-generated content will be the most disruptive and far-reaching influence on the future of news media

The future of news media is looking pretty shaky right now. Digitisation of consumption and the unprecedented rise in the popularity of video is changing the way the world consumes news. Media organisations face a huge wave of disruption.

To survive, they must rethink traditional business models and build new value propositions.  With demand for online video increasing, they need to get more innovative with publishing news. 

Enter user-generated content (UGC) – the future of authentic storytelling. 

Demand for news is growing, but trust in the media is declining

Two-thirds of the public don’t trust TV journalists according to Sky News¹, with that number rising to almost three-quarters for newspaper journalists. Oh dear! News publishing traditionally plays a critical role in times of crisis. But at a time when the world seems like it’s on fire and news has a vital role to play in keeping audiences informed and people safe, traditional news media appears to have lost control of the narrative.  People are putting their faith in each other instead.

News media can no longer bask in the glow of its ‘trust halo’.  Concern about bias, spin, hidden agendas, fake news, misinformation and inaccuracy have led more than half the population (56%) to express concern about what is fact or fiction, and Reuters Institute Digital News Report 2020 reveals only 4 in 10 say they trust news media most of the time².  There is an urgent need for credible and unbiased journalism. 

Demand for news is morphing, audiences are driving a digital first agenda

Add to declining trust the combined pressures that news consumption habits are pivoting in the direction of digital and competition for audience attention is fierce, then news media must transform dramatically if it’s to survive. 

Video is playing a key role in supporting the new agenda.  Audiences themselves hear the call to play their part in telling the stories as they unfold.  For publishers, UGC allows them to also be first and fast to the scene, and as an added bonus, historical studies from Nielson’s Global Trust report states that user-generated content is 92% more trusted than traditional advertising.³

The reinvention of news lies in harnessing the power of the people

The challenge for news publishers in the years to come is to reinvent itself around something other than simply telling the news.  User-generated content trends that have been slowly progressing over the past few years have accelerated rapidly in 2020, thanks in no small part to the Coronavirus pandemic. 

Today, we are all content creators. People are creating and sharing videos in record numbers, and it’s these unvarnished, unbiased, authentic experiences that audiences crave.   No wonder UGC has been rapidly rising up the ranks as the most consistently effective component in the telling of any news story across the world.

UGC is not only more trustworthy, but it offers a new and innovative representation format that guarantees audiences feel emotionally connected to a story.  As we have seen most recently with the death of George Floyd, to truly understand an event, audiences increasingly want to watch videos to see and hear eyewitness accounts. 

UGC tells the story like it is, and it tells it from a myriad of perspectives, with a level of genuine human emotion that cannot be created. For news publishers to secure their long-term survival, it’s essential they build a stronger, deeper connection with their audience.

Harness UGC – the secret sauce of news publishers’ recovery

Nine in ten people now access video news on a weekly basis ², and rising consumer preferences for user-generated content opens up new opportunities for publishers to re-evaluate how they can best reach and connect with today’s audiences.  

UGC drives competitive advantage for publishers, allowing them to be fast and first with the stories that are shaping the world, to drive deeper engagement with audiences, as the nature of UGC is more memorable, trusted and therefore more shareable.

UGC could also ensure financial survival. With budgets reduced and resources slashed, at a time when demand for digital content is higher than ever, user-generated content is more sustainable and cost-effective, and Newsflare will make the stories you want to tell easy to source, and quick to license.

Get in touch with us today to find out more.

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¹ https://news.sky.com/story/coronavirus-britons-still-support-lockdown-despite-being-sadder-and-more-anxious-poll-11977655      

² https://reutersinstitute.politics.ox.ac.uk/sites/default/files/2020-06/DNR_2020_FINAL.pdf

³ https://www.nielsen.com/us/en/insights/article/2012/consumer-trust-in-online-social-and-mobile-advertising-grows/

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