ManiaTV was launched in 2004 as a video destination based around quality, professionally produced content. When YouTube exploded onto the scene, though, ManiaTV tried to jump on the bandwagon by launching over 3000 channels of user generated content (UGC). Curiously, however, even while YouTube thrived and eventually grew to a $1.65 billion acquisition by Google, ManiaTV saw 80% of their visitors -- and 100% of their advertisers -- tune in for their professional content, reports BusinessWeek. The site will relaunch later today sans the UGC.Denver, Colorado-based
Even Google has so far conceded that it is not easy to monetize UCG. YouTube began placing overlay ads on select videos in August, but so far has not yet started advertising on user generated videos, instead opting to begin their ad program with professionally created content, which is a far easier sell to advertisers who have to worry less about offensive material being associated with their products.
We've reported before about Hollywood's move toward web video, and today MySpace will get in on the act with the release of their first, professionally produced scripted web series, Roommates. This is a trend that we'll likely see continue.
While UGC can drive a lot of traffic for some sites, it is clear that advertisers are still uncomfortable with it. This is nothing new. Many display ad networks do not allow publisher sites to show advertising on user generated content pages. For example, ValueClick's publish agreement prohibits web sites that "contain forums, discussion boards, chat rooms, or any content area that is open to public updates without regulation." As a result, we may begin to see many of the smaller UGC video players start to shift back toward produced content as a way attract advertisers. With the cost of production falling, and the cost of hosting UGC on the rise (as a result of it being a tougher sell to advertisers), creating origin content is a no-brainer.