When it comes to marketing, user generated content is some of the most powerful you’ll be able to acquire. Why? Because content developed by peers is considered more trustworthy than advertising.
When looking at the behaviours of millennials, you can realise how much user-generated content consumers potentially view in one day. According to a survey by Crowdtap and Ipsos, millennials spend approximately 18 hours per day with some form of media. A third of that time is spent with user-generated content.
Almost three-quarters of those surveyed stated they visited their personal social media accounts every day. This was more than those who engaged with television daily.
It Is More Powerful
We should also look at how memorable user-generated content is. Those surveyed stated it is 35% more memorable, and 74% of millennials discovered new products and services through conversations with friends and family on social media. The survey found that user-generated content was also 20% more influential when it came to purchasing decisions.
Other research has found that user-generated content provides:
- 50% higher content engagement
- 73% more click-throughs
- 85% more influence
Despite the obvious benefits of user generated content, there has been a major battle fought in America over a current consumer trend. One particular event even spilled into the courts before being settled out of them.
The Battle Of Axanar
The battle concerns the creation of a Star Trek fan film – Axanar. The group had raised over $1 million to create a profession quality film set in the pre-Kirk era. They had already created a 20-minute short, Prelude to Axanar with many high-profile actors and actresses involved including Richard Hatch.
When the crowdfunding campaign had ended, Paramount and CBS took the Axanar Production team to court over its use of the Star Trek universe while the production team argued fair use. The battle lasted months and halted production on the fan film until it was settled out of court in January 2017.
During the conflict between the two big production companies and the fan film producers, many people took to the internet to express their opinion. Most have been in favour of the Axanar production company. They point to the decades of fan produced films that have been created, some with the support of original cast members. There is also a significant amount of Star Trek based fan fiction.
Another point is that JJ Abrahams, an influential member of the latest three Star Trek films, hinted his approval for the fan-film. Finally, Gene Roddenberry, the creator of Star Trek mentioned in the past how he appreciated the effort fans went to in recreating his vision.
Yet Paramount and CBS still wanted to restrict Axanar citing it would confuse audiences.
User Generated Content Is The Future
The issue at hand is that the production companies have not updated their views of the modern world. On any social media platform, and you’ll see user generated content about brands. This is a necessary shift but in general it hasn’t harmed brands. In fact, if you look at American Express, Calvin Klein and Coca-Cola you can see how big brands can benefit from user-generated content.
When the Axanar lawsuit started, Star Trek was going through a significant period. Their 50-year anniversary was coming up, and a new film and television series were in production. However, most of this seemed to pass people by. Why? Because user-generated content had diminished.
Two other big fan film producers cut their productions. One of them financed and created by a former cast member of Star Trek Voyager, with dozens of members of Star Trek cast and crew involved. None of these productions made money from their activities; they just did it because they enjoyed contributing to the franchise.
Had CBS and Paramount invested their time more in engaging these user-generated projects, perhaps they could have a stronger brand on their hands. After all, television and film audiences are fickle. Star Trek Beyond was not as well liked as the previous two instalments, and there have been significant delays in the release of Star Trek Discovery.
And the most Star Trek news that has been covered is how CBS and Paramount have stopped user generated content reaching audiences who are hungry for it.
Is this the right approach? It would be like Coca-Cola suing someone for posting a video of them drinking one of their products.