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Independently Produced Low-Budget Content

Lawsuits, acquisitions, and experimentation are now the tools being used to craft the User Generated Content (UGC) landscape, and even with all that has transpired, we still only have an unfinished foreground in place, according to an In-Stat market study.

Business models continue to adapt and change, as do experimentations with advertising, making the overall landscape of this market appear to be as dynamic as a feather in the wind, the high-tech market research firm says.

"Three companies in particular have and will likely continue to make headlines: Google, YouTube, and Viacom," says Michael Inouye, In-Stat analyst. "The U.S. continues to be the market leader and will be for the foreseeable future," he says.

The In-Stat report is entitled "User-Generated Content: How About Just Content?" which reminds me of why it's time to drop the whole user generated rhetoric, because it doesn't describe the meaningful phenomenon within the marketplace. Independently produced low-budget content is a term, I believe, better reflects the distinction between the major studio produced high-budget content.

Moreover, every year major studios produce movies and TV shows that, by their standards of success, are money-losing flops. In actuality, they might better be described as niche content that received an investment that was clearly out-of-sync with the target market. Granted, some of the professionally produced content simply lacks a compelling storyline, or has other significant flaws.

Regardless, it's the mismatch of the high-budget investment that's the inherent core problem that delivers the undesirable commercial results. In other words, it's a fundamental marketing challenge, and the current fragmentation within the digital content arena requires that the major studios start to think differently about producing and directing documentaries and entertainment. Again, mass-market thinking is obsolete -- discover all the micro-markets, and budget accordingly.

In-Stat's study found the following:

- Worldwide revenue from UGC content will increase from $80 million in 2006 to $1.6 billion in 2011.

- Flash continues to be the video and rich-media web output format of choice. Microsoft's recent launch of Silverlight is an indirect acknowledgment of this widely accepted fact.

- As more UGC content is viewed on the TV rather than the computer monitor, the impetus to both submit and receive higher quality content will translate to much larger files being uploaded and downloaded.

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