The times they are a-changing, or at least Web video is. User-generated video content is losing its appeal and being replaced by professional content. So could this signal the death of UGC?
Online video has been built on the idea that anyone can produce content and upload it to a video sharing site for others to watch.
This idea even gives YouTube its catchphrase, with Broadcast Yourself being an intrinsic part of the company’s logo and ideals.
But things are slowly changing. Media companies and television stations are realizing the power of Web video, and how cards are stacking up to mean the years ahead will see a merging of the Internet with traditional TV broadcasts.
Internet services are becoming more readily available on set-top boxes. Take for instance, the range of products now being able to stream Netflix content: the Xbox 360, the Roku box, and the new LG Blu-ray player.
It’s not hard to imagine a time in the not too distant future when all new televisions sold come with an Internet connection and the ability to stream television and video.
UGC Less Important
All of this, of course, doesn’t mean that user-generated content is suddenly going to disappear. YouTube is still made up of roughly 97% UGC, but while that’s gained millions of viewers, very little of it can be monetized, which isn’t good for a money-making behemoth such as Google.
AOL recently abandoned its Video Upload service completely, and while it’s wholly unlikely YouTube will do that in the near future, even the biggest UGC depository on the Web is trying to move with the times.
YouTube has recently done deals with MGM and CBS, bringing full-length movies and television episodes to the site. And these sorts of deals are likely to become more common as time goes by as Google tries to increase YouTube’s profits.
Hulu has proved that professional content on the Web can gain viewers quickly, with the added benefit of having much better advertising opportunities attached to it.
With 13 hours of video uploaded every minute to YouTube, this is hardly the end of days for UGC, but unless someone, somewhere, figures out a way of making profit from user-generated content, this could well be the beginning of the end.
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