The first “knowledge session” I attended at CES 2007 was User Generated Media: An Internet, Communications and Advertising Transformation. It was really informative. My notes from the session aren’t complete but I’ll try to reconstruct as much of them as I can here. Some of my own thoughts have slipped in.
User-generated content is providing the voyeuristic view that traditional producers of media wouldn’t approach. Consumer generated media isn’t new though. Remember Rodney King? That event basically was the video tape beating. That user-generated video generated the story back on March 3, 1991. Skip forward to today and the power of user-generated content is shown again in the Saddam execution video. The “official” videomolded and edited to serve an authority’s purposewas quickly supplanted by the grainy camera phone video that exposed the taunts and chaos of the situation. That camera phone video is now the version people know of that event.
We’re also seeing the emergence of very high-quality video pieces now that the technology that used to be only in the hands of “professionals” has become affordable to the masses. One example shown of non-professional content produced by a student on his/her computer was Dollface. You can see it here below.
Given the power of user-generated content and the production values it is now capable of, we need to ask ourselves the question, how does this change the rules for media and advertising producers? Advertisers need to follow their potential consumers wherever they happen to go. Where are they going with their eyeballs consuming content? They go all over the place. The problem with so much content in so many different situations is that there has got to be some guarantee that the client who is buying advertising associated with that user-generated content is represented correctly.
When a new technology comes along, it seems “spectacle” is the first forms of expression that happen there. “Storytelling” comes later. Initial attempt in film were just spectacle pieces, showing off what could be done with the technology. The storytelling came later. We will probably see user-generated content go in that direction too.
When we ask for users to generate content for a brand, we are going to get the people who are highly motivated by that brand to respond and it will be really informative to see their perspective. People want to tell their story. They sometimes want to express themselves using the world they live in which is filled by lots of copyrighted material. There needs to be more effort trying to rectify this problem. We’re asking people to live with our brands and they’re taking us up on that request and they are going to use them to express themselves when they create content about their lives.
Here’s the official CES description of the session as well as the participants.
Description: What’s the real future of entertainmentuser-generated media or traditional TV comedies or sitcoms? What, in greater number of hours per week, will capture the consumer’s interest and committed time? Is it a fad? This session explores user-generated media as a phenomenon, as a business and as a communications and entertainment medium.
Moderator: Andy Beers, , Andy Beers & Associates, Ltd
Presenter: Peter Pham, Sr. Director, Business Development, Photobucket
Panelist: Greg Kostello, CEO, vMix Media Inc.
Panelist: Brian Monahan, Senior Vice President Director, User-Generated Content Practice, IPG Emerging Media Lab
Panelist: Kieran Nolan, Vice President, Data and Video Products, AT&T
Panelist: Dmitry Shapiro, Chief Executive Officer, Veoh Networks, Inc.
Panelist: Ian Wessman, Director of Creative Technologies, Saatchi & Saatchi LA