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Is User Gen Going Mainstream…Or Mainstream Going User Gen?

September 16, 2008


Much has been made of the disconnect between Mainstream Media companies and User Generated Media.  Up until recently, neither side had a ton of respect for the other.  The YouTube/Facebook/MySpace crowd saw Mainstream Media as dinosaurs who “didn’t get it” and were heading toward extinction, while Mainstream Media saw User Generated Media as little more than dog-on-skateboard videos that were short term fads, lacked a business model, and, to the extent it represented ad inventory at all, it was inventory that neither they nor their brand advertisers would touch with a 10 foot pole.

That’s all starting to change. I’ll address the fact that User Generated Media startups are starting to need Mainstream Media in a later post, and dwell for a minute on the fact that even the largest of Mainstream Media companies is starting to care about User Generated Media.

The large media companies are all struggling to grow their top lines.  Hungry for revenue, it seems like they are starting to turn an eye toward the vast audience and engagement generated by user generated content, and wonder out loud whether they can get on that bandwagon and unlock new revenue generating inventory.

Just today, I was with a senior executive from one of the big media companies who shared with me that whereas a year ago they wouldn’t even consider unlocking their program to be pirated and bastardized by the user generated masses, the tide has shifted and there now actually is alot of enthusiasm to figure out how to get their content into the user generated crucible and to monetize what comes out the other end. witnessed across the social media spectrum.

We’ll see whether it works, but it is refreshing at least to see the changing perspectives.

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