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Survey: user-generated content biggest worry, opportunity for media companies

Who's afraid of user-generated content? According to data collected for Accenture's annual survey of senior media executives, user-generated content is one of the biggest threats that traditional media companies face in the next few years. No one claims that video clips of Uncle Jim passing out in the punch bowl at his niece's wedding are going to drive shows like Battlestar Galactica into oblivion, but executives are worried—57 percent of them listed user-generated content as one of their top three concerns. 苏州美睫美甲

For consumers, this could turn out to be excellent news, since media executives are being forced to rethink business models and strategies that worked well in a pre-Internet era, and the entire industry is entering a great Age of Experimentation. "To succeed in this environment," said Universal Studios Doug Neil, "you need to innovate and anticipate the needs of the consumer, be willing to take risks and try new things."

Roger Faxon, head of EMI, has shown that willingness to experiment by opening the EMI catalog to non-DRM sales. He told Accenture that the whole business of music selling needs an overhaul; rather than rely solely on internal A&R people to find and develop bands into hit-makers, the company could tap the power of social networking to find new acts, many of which now recognize that they have other distribution channels besides the traditional labels. This means that the labels could become "facilitators for bringing music and the rights that support them into the marketplace, as opposed to being originators of the content," said Faxon.

But challenge is also opportunity, at least for the 68 percent of the respondents who said they planned to make money off of user-generated content within three years. Not everyone has yet hit upon a strategy to turn such content into profits, though—24 percent of respondents said that they have no idea how to monetize it yet.

Some of the biggest names in the business understand that technology is hurling us quickly into an on-demand world with thousands or even millions of options, but they still believe that the big content creators can play a significant role; short YouTube clips only go so far. Leslie Moonves, head of CBS, stood up for his company's content, saying, "Current technologically driven distribution channels will expand and new ones will open. But without compelling content, every new platform is an empty shell. Companies that can combine world-class content with powerful national and local distribution will have the competitive advantage."

Or, in other words: meet the new boss, same as the old boss.