User generated video losing its appeal?

Online video sites are scaling back their use of amateur videos in favor of professionally produced programming, according to a report in Business Week. “People would rather watch content that has production value than watch their neighbors in the garage,” says Matt Sanchez, co-founder and chief executive of VideoEgg. One major reason for the switch is that advertisers will pay more to support professsional content. That doesn’t mean user-generated video is dead.

But to stay relevant, non-pros will have to step up the quality. And even when they do, the mix of user-generated video and professional content is likely to look very different in a couple of years. VideoEgg’s Sanchez sees it changing from a landscape dominated by user-generated video to one where the most watched content is largely professionally produced. “The user will still be on the playlist,” Sanchez says. But “it will be 10% to 15% of consumption, not 60% of consumption.”

Lost Remote‘s Cory Bergman says that analysis misses the point.

“Sites like VideoEgg and Brightcove are getting out of the user-gen business because that’s not their business,” Bergman says, “not because user-gen content is failing.”

YouTube is an empowering technology: not a media showcase of user-gen content. The predominate (sic) reason people upload video is not in a hope it hits the home page or goes viral, but the technology allows them to share it with their friends.

So what does this mean for news video? My sense is that all other things being equal viewers would prefer to watch well-produced video. They’ll put up with poor quality if it’s breaking news or amazing raw footage, but in the long run quality counts. So if you’re posting marginal video on a news site just to plant the video flag, you might want to reconsider.

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