UGTV blocking up your tubes!

I went to a pretty interesting event last night on user-generated televison.

And UGTV’06 – as they dubbed it – passed muster, with good speakers from MTV and Trouble, a healthily diverse audience (ie. all the confusion and clashing perspectives around this area were readily apparent as soon as the audience got their say). Most importantly the venue was properly air-conditioned (phew!).

More on that later, and on how the EU TV Without Frontiers directive, which I quizzed the broadcasters about, might impact the UGTV space.

Divide and regulate

There’s another thing broadcasters getting into webcasting, online distribution and UGTV might like to bear in mind: the root of what I’m fixated on today – the multiplying clips and remixes around Senator Ted Stevens’ net neutrality speech on YouTube.

Hmm. Net Neutrality and TV Without Frontiers – two sides of the same coin? Well, as Bill Thompson pointed out at the NMK Xmas lecture way back in 2002(!) they’re our governments, so if you agree, disagree, or have any advice, tell ’em.

In us we trust?

Here in Britain we muddle along with consensus; debate is seen as faintly embarrassing. But bizzarely enough we’re one of only two EU states (the other being Slovakia) currently opposing the new regulatory powers on the internet this EU directive would pressage. So it’s not all passive acquiescence …

Given that this weather is far too hot for fragile Celts like me, and prevents me from forming any sensible conclusions on serious subjects, I’ll sign-off with another YouTube classic (via Sam): George Bush Sings U2.


5 responses to “UGTV blocking up your tubes!

  1. Hi Dierdre, I couldn’t help feeling very underwhelmed by the the speakers. For starters it worries me that senior executives in a business wich is reaching out to internet communities didn’t know what Creative Commons (cc) is. That’s one area where I would have thought it was very important to have a position (particularly in light of the guy from MTV’s comments about the risks of copyright infringement)…

    Overall I felt that both audience and speakers where keen to discuss the business of TV but didn’t have much interest in users. Most comments kept comming back to how cheap ugtv is and treat internet communities likke a ‘savings cow’.

    I had hoped to hear stories of profitable engagement with users. Maybe next time:-)

  2. Hi Dug, thanks for your comment. I know what you mean about Creative Commons, and the broader issue of treating “user-generated” content as basically free content around which the broadcasters / hosts generate advertising revenue.

    It’s a huge issue (Did you see this piece in the Register yesterday about MySpace and artists uploading music not getting paid?) – and one mainstream broadcasters haven’t yet given serious thought to I think. After all they’re just dipping their toes in these waters (perhaps they have read too many articles highlighting UGC’s unstoppable rise!), probably at the behest of frustrated (and perhaps well meaning?) marketing managers, and of course the example of Rupert.

    The point, I suppose, is the mainstream media business model and the lack of experimentation on that side. Revenue-share models are still the purview of smaller and mostly web-based outfits.

    Beyond basic revenue-share there are other emerging models – such as those floated by the “attention data” and even “intention economy” supporters.

    I guess the issue was magnified by the fact that we were facing people from TV – the last media business that wants to admit that it’s core model “broad-casting” is in drastic decline (I wanted to ask about the future of broadcasting in the UK when Eastenders now gets under 4 million viewers, but also wanted to hear more from others so held my peace 😉 )

    Having worked in TV for 18 months myself (2002-2004), I know (and was very bemused that) they still see the internet as pesky thing on the side, and no matter what Mark Thompson says, that’s going to take a while to be un-ingrained.

    Why I thought the speakers were “good” – was that because they gave us an insight into their thinking on participative media, community and creativity. And to give him credit, Matthew Kershaw from MTV did say they were looking at other business models for the future.

    The ones who will ultimately really profit from this new terrain will be the ones who take their users/contributors into the equation as partners – but that’s still seems a way off, given the potential for adding a one-way revenue stream in the short-term. After all, they’re beholden to shareholders – and who’s going to educate them until things get a lot worse?


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  4. Hi Deirdre, agreed on the ‘partner’ thing.

    I’m pretty much sold on the concept of co-creation as the only likely way for businesses to compete in the near future. There are a few examples out there from the mechanical turk model through to good old fashionned Auntie inviting young people into the studio to produce a show. None of them are fully formed and I thought I might hear of more at ugtv.

    What made me curious was how to deliver a co-creative network. When all a market’s participants know what their role is (hi, I’m an actor, I’m a film director a marketer etc) it’s simple enough for them to collaborate given the right mindset. In this industry however, the very roles and core skills of the players themselves are being undermined. This may not be a bad thing but it sure as hell calls for some serious thinking into how best to move into profitable collaboration.

    With any luck, this is something the shareholders will start to understand soon.


    when theplayers (the nodes) themselves could no longer

  5. Pingback: UGTV’06 – The Daily Grind

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