User Generated Content in India: What web can learn from Radio and TV

[Guest post by Naman – he shares an interesting analysis of UGC (user generated content) in India and what web can learn from Radio and TV.]

User generated content looks like a more web 2.0 thing but taking a different/deeper look it seems to touch all forms of mass media.

Radio

Remember those ‘Request a song’ shows on radio. Well one might think it is licensed content got from the music industry. But isn’t that only half of it. Every time a song is aired the licensed content would be only around 4 minutes (appx.) of the song that is played. And there is also the 2 minutes of phone call from the user/listener that is aired. So around 30 percent of the content is user generated. Is it flop or hit? Well i believe all stations have these shows, so certainly not a flop. Is it annoying for the listener? Personally speaking, it really depends on the RJ.

Working method: Mix the licensed content and UGC to sell both.

Going a step forward radio stations have launched full time UGC shows. Some formats are quiz, share an experience, funny games etc. The user’s motivation is probably a short-lived fame. Hearing your voice on local station isn’t bad at all. The access to this fame is easy, just stretch out to your phone and call. No pre-planning. The calling nos. are frequently announced and hence better response.

Television

UGC on TV? Well we all know this, the only form of content every channel is running after, Realty Shows/ Talent hunts. The earlier formats like Antakshari on Zee Tv were not exactly UGC. But moving on to new formats Indian Idol, Roadies and there are lot more, no not Big Boss. The shows are based on some particular theme like singing, dancing, attitude (Roadies), comedy etc. Now these shows are actually divided into 2 parts auditions and the further rounds. What i am calling as UGC is the auditions part. The entertaining part in auditions is mostly the participants’ performance, ofcourse the judges’ reviews and comments are also there but again these are more to create drama and they mostly play the same role as the RJ on radio, kind of moderators.

The rounds that follow after the audition doesn’t really fall into UGC, disagreements certainly exist and would love them in the comments. The reason i am calling it so is because they are selected performers, selected in the same way as one would hire a professional performer. Only that they don’t get pay checks.

The motivation for the user here is a greater level fame (as compared to radio) in the audition itself. Of course, if the editor is your Mother-in-law, there are chances she will clip out your performance. The better you perform the more chance of a greater air time. Of course if you do something really controversial, like slapping the judges etc., you could be on all News channels as well. Believe me these controversies are mostly seeded. And there is a second motivation of getting to be in further rounds and actually end up being a celebrity. The access points are of course limited, mostly auditions are in metros only. You need to have particular form of talent or wait for the producers in the west to come up with a theme that suits your talent and then another year for the Indian television to copy that (pun intended).

Working method: UGC followed by competition amongst featured users (don’t have a better way to put it up.)

Web

Well there is enough hype already so no need to discuss. But do you really think Indian users are actually creating content. Most videos on YouTube India are TV shows, songs, trailers etc. mostly those which should have been licensed and are illegally there or those uploaded by actual content owners/producers. None or very little user generated. Same with review sites, no. of participative users is almost negligible. Given the ease of access and very little moderation why isn’t it picking up?

The thing missing is user motivation. YouTube has featured videos but the ease of access is missing because with most internet connections in India it would take ages to upload a video and also to get into featured/top rated videos, you really need to be a professional producer.

Giving the content statistics as to how many people viewed this content is one form of motivation. Ranking the user and content is another motivation.

What else? Paying them? And paying to everyone or only the featured ones or only the lucky ones selected randomly? Paying according to quality or no. of visitors?

Competition amongst featured users. But how exactly? What kind of competition would you be relevant amongst review writers?

Cross media promotion of featured users. Like featuring the best review in newspapers under a regular column. Most media houses are doing this, like the Times of India polls is user generated on web.

I am not concluding anything through this but just wanting to hear from you as to what form of adoption do we need to make. Some modification from TV/ Radio or something else.

For example: Let see why i am sharing this on pluGGd.in. Even this article is UGC so what was my motivation?  Sharing something with a community that is best to judge that something. Almost like performing in front of the judges of a talent hunt show on TV. But there are no further rounds.

Another form of UGC would be like getting your comments on this post. Your motivation? Well again like radio it will be short lived fame because you get the comment section only and like RJ i will be participative and reply to your comments. And like TV, if your comments are good you may be taken to second round ie. Ashish might make a post of it as featured comments.

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