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Consumer generated content isn’t easy to get

January 2, 2007

CNN’s I-Report program for user-generated content is off to a slow start according to a report by NewTeeVee. Photo submissions currently outnumber videos by a factor of 30:1. CNN spokespeople suggest that people are finding it hard to use cell phones to file video reports, the likely reality is that cellphone video quality, unless you have a top of the range phone, isn’t quite there yet. It’s also a case of Will Wright’s “crap and the great”(see below), unless you give really good tools, guidance and advice, you are unlikely to get video of sufficient quality to air.

Will Wright's Crap and Great

To make this work, CNN needs to look at Current TV’s approach, which is to identify the “Pro-Ams” with some talent and commission them to file reports. They can use the “Pro-Ams” to set the standard, start the program going and still open the I Report program to all comers. The problem with user-generated content is that it requires lots of pro-activity from the media and client companies; you can’t just sit back and expect the work to be done for you. You need to go out and actively solicit. In addition, you need to make sure you have the right kind of incentive program.

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