User generated content – what’s your view? Suddenly, according to the industry, we seem to have a new category of subject matter: “USER GENERATED.”

Yet, hasn’t all content always been user generated? After all, who creates content, monkeys? (Hold that thought…)

“Users” always have generated content. In the early days of Rock and Roll everyone with a twang and a guitar begged borrowed or stole the $25 it took to cut a demo record (that’s a piece of vinyl with grooves…never mind, check the history books…) and went from radio station to radio station begging and often bribing the DJs to play it.

The difference today is that the Web has democratized the process. You don’t have to bribe anymore. Anyone can post anything.

And here’s the rub and the question for debate…

Who cares?

Even in the days of bribery, the DJs were smart enough to know if it wasn’t good nobody would listen. Sure, they played some trash, after all why take bribes, but DJs were really filters for public taste, bribes and all.

Today, there is no filter. Bob Greenberg of RGA calls it 15mgs of fame. Is the fleeting fame worth anything? 15mgs…maybe…

There is some brilliance, and there always has been. Yet, is there more brilliance today? You tell me.

I spoke last week with some execs from the US Broadcast networks (old style and cable). If you have been following the news, you know they are struggling. And the all-wise analysts pontificate on this issue and predict their end…yet again.

Their response is simple and pretty compelling: someone has to pay for great content. One way or another it costs money to create great video, books; songs; music, whatever. Talent doesn’t come cheap.

So if you like 24 or think Pirates of the Caribbean is great or follow Harry Potter, are you really ready to give it up for the latest “watch me vegetate” clip on the web.

According to the execs, the picture could look like this: a cut back in programming available from them. Then direct sales of discreet content directly to consumers. Quickly consumers will see that it costs them much more to buy individual content, which will of course be premium priced. Soon, content aggregators will arise and the costs will be even higher as you will have to buy from multiple vendors. Then, a genius will figure out that a model using advertising as the currency of engagement is the answer and networks will emerge that aggregate and provide great content—only you have to watch commercials to get it for free…

Is there nothing new under the sun? Maybe…

So chew on this thought:

We’ve heard that a million monkeys at a million keyboards could produce the complete works of Shakespeare; now, thanks to the Internet, we know that is not true. ~Robert Wilensky

What do you think?

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