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How broadcasters can unlock the value of UGC


User-generated content (UGC) being growing at an exponential rate. As a broadcaster, you could find significant benefits to its use but must first discover ways to unlock its true value.

With almost everybody armed with a smartphone, nowadays nothing goes undocumented. Everyone is a content creator capturing significant and sometimes shocking moments as they happen and posting them online for all to see. Whether it be unfolding events or freak weather phenomena, we’re no longer solely reliant on news outlets for breaking stories.

However, more often than not, UGC isn’t being used to its full potential by broadcasters. Instead, it predominately circulated on social media sites such as Twitter and Instagram.

The role of UGC in broadcasting

The advent of the smartphone has given rise to ‘citizen journalism’, whereby members of the public capture images and video from unfolding events. The use of this content in news bulletins and websites can provide real value to media outlets. It helps create a narrative and providing footage from the scene of incidents where camera crews weren’t present. For broadcasters, user-generated content offers speed of access, enabling them to report in real-time. In fact, UCG is usually uploaded in a matter of minutes from the scene of the event.

Further to this, the rise of ‘fake news’ is causing public concern about misinformation. 70% of people in the UK are concerned about what news is real and fake on the Internet. UGC, however, is found to be 50% more trusted than other media. It has the ability to act as social proof that an event took place, adding credibility to a story. What’s more, it is suggested that newsrooms that successfully engage UGC will build community trust, encouraging audiences to share even more.

If you’re a broadcaster, integrating UGC into your marketing materials will make more impactful campaigns that resonate with your customers. Indeed, research finds that 85% of consumers find UGC to be more influential than branded content. UGC also offers broadcasters added creativity, enabling them to show viewers the world from a myriad of perspectives and develop more compelling stories. Genuine human emotion can be difficult to recreate, therefore, the use of UGC can help broadcasters convey this with more authenticity.


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Extracting value from UGC

Since the advent of social sharing sites, it has never been more important in TV production to have quick access to content to ensure producers are at the forefront of topical events. Tight deadlines create the need to find and insert the right clip into their programme or advert fast. While UGC presents broadcasters with the opportunity to enhance their storytelling, the challenge lies in accessing and utilising this content.

One of the most effective ways broadcasters and media outlets can tap into the growing volumes of UGC is by creating their own portals through which content can be uploaded. You can achieve this with a self-branded cloud-based platform, be scaled in-line with usage. This approach allows broadcasters to quickly access the UGC they require to respond to breaking news stories and events. It enables you to move away from the current method in which journalists trawl social media sites for video clips and seek permission to use the content from the original poster, which can be both time-consuming and ineffective.

Organisations could also incentivise UGC to ensure that individuals feel inspired to upload their content via the portal. You can do this by enabling individuals to monetise their footage. This is an approach being used successfully by companies such as ViralVideoUK. In this scenario, individuals upload their footage and receive a flat fee from the broadcaster if their assets are utilised.

Simultaneous explosion of video and UGC

As you may already know, video content is growing exponentially and set increase further. By 2022, video is expected to account for 82% of all global consumer Internet traffic – increasing from 69% in 2017.

As consumers continue to capture important moments that could otherwise go undocumented, it’s becoming increasingly vital for broadcasters utilise it. Therefore, it’s time these organisations took matters into their own hands by creating an online portal and incentivising the sharing of valuable UGC. In an increasingly competitive landscape, this could prove to be a key differentiator for broadcasters, enabling them to create more authentic and compelling stories and making their community feel part of that process.


At Imagen, we help organisations of all sizes store, organise and distribute their media assets effectively.    

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