User Generated Content: NBC and YouTube Mash Up May Have A Bonus Outcome, Less Zapping

by Marianne Richmond on June 26, 2006

Speaking at the Convergence 2.0 Conference, NBC’s Gillian Lusins, Vice President, Intellectual Property, said that they will promote the Fall season with an online video tool that allows consumers to create mash-ups of the shows in the line-up.

Lusin’s said "Users taking our content and doing what they want with it, we have to deal with it," said Lusins, referring to the popularity of video-sharing sites like YouTube. "I think it’s a matter of helping to move [these sites] to a place where content owners who don’t want their content on [those sites] can get it down. We’re actually trying to co-opt the YouTube model ourselves."

So, the issues as outlined by Lusins are digital rights, piracy, joining the video sharing/mash-up action happening at YouTube….providing content suitable for user’s to play with, while controlling/protecting the real content. All based on the "if you can’t beat them join them theory." Steve Rubel says NBC should be congratulated for recognizing that YouTube is a friend and not a foe." We all remember NBC insisting that YouTube remove Lazy Sunday and now all is forgiven as YouTube can have content from NBC…special, related content not the real thing.

MTV is also participating. Michael Wolf, MTV Network’s President-coo is quoted in MediaPost as saying, "We know our audiences are into user generated content, social networking and gaming so we’ve made strategic acquisitions like iFilm, GameTrailers, NeoPets, and XFire." MediaPost said to think of it "as old media’s land grab."

According to the WSJ, " consumers view short videos more than 70 million times…. users post more than 60,000 videos daily, with a limit of 10 minutes for most clips" on YouTube. YouTube is not alone however; Google Video, eBaum’s World, iFilm (MTV) are all growing exponentially as are Revver and Grouper and MySpace also has a viral video section.

But maybe it not just about protecting the content or participating in something that consumers are already doing….maybe there is a bonus outcome that’s as much about commercial skipping as anything else; 8 million dollars is a lot to lose while consumers zap through the advertising. If consumers are producing the advertising, they might be more interested in watching their own spots and that of other consumers, albeit on line.

So, if you cross the attraction to reality tv shows with the new ease of YouTubing it might be that producing commercials actually encourage consumers to use TiVo for things besides zapping commercials, grabbing them; and to watch the commercials. Maybe the headline should be, NBC says we know how to get people to watch our commercials, let them make their own.

And then of course there is the impact of word of mouth. Converse invited users to make videos about the brand and posted them on line. Chevrolet, in amore direct effort asked consumers to make their own Tahoe commercials and post them. Significant word of mouth occurred around both of these efforts. How many people paid attention to the mashed up Tahoe spots than would have ignored the traditional version? Despite some issues, consumers were driven (no pun intended) to the commercials.

Snakes on a Plane is another prime example of word of mouth building from mashed-up commercials, or in this case movie trailers, as Jackie Huba noted at WOMMA. As Jackie pointed out, the final edition of Snakes on a Plane was even influenced by UGC as more gore was added into the movie based upon user created video.

Message to advertisers: Reality Commercials increases viewership; involvement, engagement increases results. Message from Julian Aldridge at WOMMA, measure results not actions.

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