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Opinion

UGC video is currently flooding mobile networks – so Uberise it!

More video is uploaded in 30 days than all the video created by US broadcast networks in 30 years. “Can telcos monetise it?” asks Janne Neuvonen.

While user-generated content (UGC) video is an emerging, lucrative asset, mobile networks have yet to develop strategies that do more than just sell larger data packages.

Today, only one per cent of all UGC video is being monetised, and mostly by the largest global social networks. In fact, 99 per cent of UGC video produced globally is there to be monetised by publishers and operators alike.

So, will telcos, publishers and brands continue to allow social networks to grab the entire UGC video market? And how can they get a grip on this market and develop much-needed new revenue streams?

The ability to monetise UGC video requires proper content rights ownership, which is hard to acquire on a global scale due to complex ownership and distribution rights. Furthermore, most UGC video content is of poor quality or holds limited general interest for wider audiences.

Distribution, discovery and availability to consumers in an easy and meaningful way is complicated, with curation across disparate networks almost non-existent. Individuals producing content often ignore tagging videos, tag them using misspelled hashtags, or forget to upload their content to more than one service. And, of course, some content is not even uploaded at all.

“The key to telcos’ success in UGC monetisation is for them to think of themselves as a media source, not a distribution channel.”

Nearly 99 per cent of UGC is distributed by social networks, but the creators themselves are often not realising any monetary gain. Most UGC content is not produced by YouTube “creators” who have advertising revenue share deals with a network. Social networks own the UGC video content and the metadata attached to each clip. For example, when brands run hashtag campaigns on Instagram, the only real winner is Instagram.

If telcos and other players such as media houses, venue and event operators, and consumer brands wish to win UGC video revenue from the global social networks and start monetising it, they must harness artificial intelligence (AI) and data analytics and build an Uber-like platform to establish a new business model for sourcing, managing, distributing and monetising the content.

The key to telcos’ success in UGC monetisation is for them to think of themselves as a media source, not a distribution channel. Telcos will not succeed alone, but they can leverage existing subscribers, for example, to take back revenue that has moved to the major social networks. This requires an Uber-like ecosystem where everyone gets his or her fair share. What operators used to refer to as “content decks” could now be expanded vastly through real-time video curation that would deliver a global source for a wide range of partners.

Published on 17.10.2018