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Leading the content revolution – why everyone wants a slice of the UGC pie

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With the likes of Netflix planning to spend $8bn on original content this year, competition is heating up for programme producers to develop content that not only resonates with audiences, but also helps differentiate their clients from much larger, established rivals.

That’s where User Generated video comes in. Hugely popular due to its up-close, authentic nature, UGC is the engagement opportunity producers have been waiting for. No longer seen as low-quality or budget, UGC has shed its amateur skin and has made its way into even the most professional of productions.

It’s what you film, not how you film it

While there will always be a place in the industry for Blue Planet style programming – expertly shot with exceptionally high production values – what is also important is the substance of the subject matter, rather than just the resolution of the camera it was shot on.

With the proliferation of smartphones, drones, dash cams, helmet cams and more, both the supply and quality of video shot by the public has exploded. For a while now, a limited number of producers have been able to invest in research teams to scour social platforms for videos of amazing real-life events. However, clearing one clip at a time is a slow and labour-intensive exercise making many shows like these too expensive to be commercially viable.

Now, publishers can tap into a huge pool of content, readily available at their fingertips. As we continue to see more and more video being shot, we’ll also see a rise in its use across our screens.

Turning everyone into storytellers

The current Snapchat generation of video-first consumers are driven by the prospect of their content being used outside of just their social platforms. Providing easy and accessible opportunities to showcase their clips, the likes of Instagram and Facebook allow everyone to be a creator as and when and how they want.

Smart producers have found a way to capitalise on this, using groups of everyday people to gather collections of clips that combine to tell the story they want to portray. By doing so, producers get a greater variety of video footage at a fraction of the cost, all the while continuing to feed audiences what they want to see.

The future of the content revolution

Despite ongoing changes to the platforms and technologies via which we consume video, content will always be king, with the most important element of a video being the story. User Generated video is powerful mainly because audiences find it easy to relate to real stories with an unpolished and authentic character to them.

Whilst we are seeing more and more brands exploit the value of User Generated video, those that will truly succeed will be those that tap into their own customer communities to produce content – offering both involvement and responsibility in the crafting of their brand stories.

Customers may not be video professionals, but their context is likely to be much like that of their fellow customers. The democratisation of video allows brands to engage customers to engage their fellow customers like never before.

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