Citizen Journalists Get Syndie Show: YouNewsTV

Broadcast Interactive Media to Launch Syndicated Show Based on User-Generated Content in September 4/13/2008 06:03:00 PM Eastern

Just over one year since it debuted YouNews on the Web, Broadcast Interactive Media is packaging users’ videos of twisters, high-school hoops and impossibly cute Shih Tzus into a syndicated show. The weekly YouNewsTV program has been cleared to air in more than 15 markets come September.


Some 52 TV stations -- including Granite Broadcasting, Fisher Communications and Journal Broadcast Group outlets -- use the YouNews platform on their Web sites, with more than 50,000 members registered to submit user-generated content to the station sites. YouNews gets 10,000-20,000 submissions in a typical week, the majority of them digital photos.

Clips for the show will also come from other user-generated content portals such as Revver.

YouNews’ partner stations get the right of first refusal for the syndicated show, which is being produced by Wisconsin firm Tweedee Productions. Stations have the option of running the program as is or inserting clips of local interest and tapping station talent to host.

"Producing and syndicating this programming gives stations a turnkey way to produce more local programming," BIM CEO Timur Yarnall said. "It gives our clients a great way to compete against the large national portals that are currently receiving the bulk of online ad spending by leveraging the advantages local TV has -- fantastic local brand recognition alongside trusted local sales executives."

Among the stations planning to air the show are KSFY Sioux Falls, Iowa, and KBWB San Francisco.

Partner stations see considerable sponsorship opportunities in the extended YouNews brand. "We’ve had unprecedented success securing local sponsorship of YouNews online and have seen a tremendous increase in user participation on," KSFY general manager Kelly Manning said. "We’re very pleased that we’ll be able to offer the on-air sponsorship, as well."

This won’t be the first time UGC has migrated from the Web to television. CNN airs user clips of breaking news through its iReport platform, and YouNews content often pops up in partner stations’ newscasts.

WNDY Indianapolis aired primetime special The Best of, featuring footage from its UGC Web platform, in March, while WTVH Syracuse, N.Y., aired a half-hour special comprised of local YouNews footage in February. "We’d been thinking of doing a YouNews show and when they did it in Syracuse, it really crystallized," Yarnall said.

According to Yarnall, YouNewsTV has minimal production costs thanks to the free content, and it will appeal not only to older viewers who enjoy watching storms, local amateur sports and pets, but to the younger generation that spends its days on YouTube and Facebook: "That’s the group TV is most in danger of losing," he added.

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