Lately I’ve noticed a few mainstream web publications making concerted efforts to solicit user generated content. Enabling consumers to submit news gives media access to millions of potential stories they might otherwise not know about, or not have a scoop on. I know our local (and likely national) public radio station has been soliciting user generated content and news stories for at least a year and so do some TV stations. Also, Topix.net allows users to interact with news stories on their forums which, according to Topix.net founder Rich Skrenta, has enabled a big boost in traffic.
Most recently I noticed that Yahoo News has launched You Witness News that allows you to upload photos and video for potential use in Yahoo News stories. According to comScore, Yahoo News is the #1 online news source, so marketers should take notice of such an opportunity.
Eric Ward recently gave me the heads up on a similar service from CNN with a feature called I-Report which looks pretty interesting as well.
So besides optimizing your video for search and submitting to the video and social search engines, marketers now have another avenue or channel to provide video content to mainstream media. There is a huge opportunity here for consumer or BtoC marketers that “get it” and are in a position to leverage video as part of their marketing efforts. I doubt things like a BtoB software company with a new product demo video is going to get any play with Yahoo News or CNN in this way.
However, if eWeek or other tech publications (hint hint) started offering these kinds of services, it could reveal some pretty interesting opportunities to capture more unique news earlier and give companies a new channel for news distribution.