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User Generated Content

Social Media Portal Landscape - User generated content


When the Social Media Portal (SMP) refers to user generated content (UGC) we are referring to websites and technology that is to host media (often rich media) – generated by users (including individuals, companies, organisations, broadcasters and similar).


The term UGC entered mainstream use in 2005, and covers media forms such as video, blogging (although this is listed separately in the SMP Landscape), podcasting, images, wikis, discussion boards (listed under Communities), customer review sites and more.  Although UGC can apply to varying types of media and form just one part of an overall website, it predominantly refers to websites that host video content exclusively.

The most popular of these websites is undoubtedly YouTube, which was purchased by search company Google Inc. in 2006 for $1.65 billion USD.  The popularity of YouTube – not just with internet users but also mainstream society and media – is evident by the launch of dedicated TV shows in its honour (such as Rude Tube – the best of YouTube videos from the past year broadcast on a popular television station Channel Four’s E4 in the United Kingdom).

Mass media

YouTube, which was unveiled to the public in February 2005, has 20 hours of video (figures from May 2009) uploaded to the site every minute.  This is compared to just two years before where it was six hours per minute, and in January 2009 it stood at 15 hours.  Other popular UGC sites include MetaCafe, DailyMotion, MySpace TV, Break, Veoh and Vimeo.

Further evidence of UGC being recognised by mainstream media can be seen at the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) and CNN.  In April 2005, the BBC piloted a new UGC initiative, staffed with three people.  Following the London bombings in 2005 and the Buncefield oil fire, the initiative was made permanent and in fact expanded.  In 2006, CNN unveiled its new CNN iReport project, which was designed to integrate user generated news content to CNN.  Most mainstream media outlets now request their audience (either viewers or readers) to send in their photographs and videos – which they do en masse without compensation fuelling a sub-category of citizen journalism.


Many UGC sites are now catering for a growing mobile audience, but also for a more technology savvy market with the additional of interactive features on videos – such as the ability to add hyperlinks and comments directly to the video itself.  These sites also enable videos to be shared in a quick and easy manner through ‘Send to friend’ features and copy and paste embedded code, allowing the video to be streamed seamlessly onto any blog, social network or website.

With the growing popularity of mobile video comes with video editing tools directly on the handset.  It has become an easier task for videos to be uploaded directly from a mobile handset to a UGC site and then be shared.  Which has seen the birth of dedicated user generated content portals on mobile, such as MyNumo.  YouTube claim that in the first half of 2009, uploads from mobile handsets to the UGC site grow by 1700% and since the launch of the iPhone 3GS (the first iPhone with video capability) on 19 June 2009, uploads increased by 400% a day.  Continue to learn more about UGC here within the SMP Landscape.

The benefits of adding your UGC service to SMP

  • Better communicate your service to your audience
  • Reach brands, marketers and advertisers that are looking to connect with your target audience
  • Connect with potential stakeholders, media and researchers raising your visibility
  • Update your stakeholders and target audiences with case studies, events, press releases and/or whitepapers about your software or technology
  • Differentiate your approach, products, service and/or technology from your competitors
  • Submit news scoops about your resource through SMP to be considered for social media news
  • List other assets of what your resource possesses that relate to the social media Landscape and demonstrate the other relationships that it has
  • Share your expertise through opinion and thought leadership articles published on the SMP site reaching your audiences

Do you run a UGC site?

Become part of the SMP Landscape by adding your UGC site.