Value of User Video Differs for Large Brands and the Long Tail

As Viacom’s demand that all its content be removed from YouTube reverberates , it’s clearer than ever that the company aims for properties like its new site to become branded video destinations. Technology firms like ViTrue, whose user-generated video platform is powering the site, hope to capitalize on that. The company is also enabling user video promos for advertiser brands like snack food maker Lance and Planet Smoothie, and it plans to launch a video ad network soon to build ad inventory for niche publishers.

VH1’s site, launched about five weeks ago, houses various contests involving user video, including one centered around upcoming Warner Brothers flick “Music and Lyrics.” The competition allowed songwriters to submit videos of solo love song performances for the chance to win a trip to the film premiere.
The site also plays host to a video contest affiliated with VH1’s “Making the Band 4,” a show in which singers and dancers compete for a chance at a personal audition with Diddy, the hip hop artist with the ever-morphing name.

Recognizing that media companies are increasingly interested in offering user-generated content destinations, ViTrue founder and CEO Reggie Bradford launched the firm last April. “We’re seeing really strong interest from the media category,” he said. The company has also worked with Time Warner to develop user-generated video contest site “Funny or Not?” for TBS. The winner was awarded $10,000 and the promise of having his clip run on the TV channel in the future. ViTrue partners license the platform to enable user-generated video, ratings, blogging, RSS feeds and contest-related features.

Banner ads served by for The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority and The Wall Street Journal Online are running on the VH1 site. Still, even though the new destination allows the company to offer customized sponsorships to ad partners such as Warner, large media brands like VH1 aren’t necessarily interested in serving ads within user content just yet, said Bradford.

“We’re creating a meaningful user experience between brand media companies and target consumers,” he said, adding, “Once that gels, we can start looking at distribution of ads and creating monetization of content.” ViTrue also has its own video sharing destination site,

Perhaps before big media clients sell ads in user video content, smaller niche sites working with the tech firm will. Bradford expects the narrowly-targeted sports sites and other niche sites his firm is in talks with to become part of an ad network ViTrue will launch soon. “It’s a different value proposition,” he said, noting media companies often launch video destinations for branding purposes, while “long tail” sites typically enable video platforms to generate ad revenue. For all clients, the company currently attaches metadata tags and ratings to user videos to facilitate search and ad targeting.

Other brand advertiser clients including Moe’s Southwest Grill, snack food purveyor Lance and Planet Smoothie are also employing the platform for promotional campaigns. Planet Smoothie’s “Be the Cup” video contest runs through February 21, and solicits fans of the brand to submit videos presenting the reasons they’d make a good “Cup Man.” The grand prize winner will be made the official Cup Man, daily blogger, and will be offered a Planet Smoothie franchise location.

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