Why 2017 was finally the right time to launch our user-generated video play

After a year of talk. Serious talk, less serious talk and then serious money talk, we finally launched Ciné Souk short travel videos in late 2016. We’ll be building our offering later this year with more user-generated short travel film series. 

We’ve started small, with a series of video neighbourhood guides filmed by locals on their own phones. But Life In My Hood will cover 100 Australian suburbs before the end of the year and it’s this scale that makes the project and those that follow so exciting. 

We believe that 2017 is finally the year of user-generated content. Sure, you think, that sounds reasonable, but then, they would say that, wouldn’t they?

UCG isn’t new, so why is this year special? 

In part it’s down to technology and I’ll give you an example.

In 2010, Tourism Australia invited people to share their favourite place in Australia by sending a photo. The destination marketing organisation expected perhaps 5000 pictures throughout the six week upload period, but it received more than 30,000. 

Since then, the quality of cameras and the number of people carrying them has exploded and is continuing to grow at an incredible rate. Apple’s ongoing Shot on iPhone campaign highlights the pixel-perfect image quality now available to anyone with the latest smartphone. Android and Google phones have similar capabilities too. 

There are an estimated 1.5 billion HD-camera equipped smartphones now in use globally and that’s expected to rise to 2.5 billion by 2020. That’s one in every three people worldwide. If just one percent made a travel film, that’s 25 million filmmakers.

High quality footage is increasingly at the fingertips of all who travel. And travellers share their raw video across social channels, a trend that will only rise. Ericsson’s latest Mobility report projects video to account for 75% of mobile data traffic by 2022. 

Yet getting this vision from them and into the hands of others stuck on a dreary train somewhere is the holy grail of all destination marketers. Also, few travellers know how to capture, edit and publish their great footage. 

This is where we come in. Our templates allow anyone with a phone to becomes a travel filmmaker. Our films are then search engine optimised to maximise reach. In building a video blog publishing company, we are aiming to disrupt the traditional travel journalism commissioning hierarchy. By the middle of this year, destinations will be able to reach out directly to budding filmmakers and source first hand, first person and first class video content. 

As Tech.co says: “user generated content is candid, honest and evergreen.” We think they’re 100% right, especially in the world of travel and tourism where last week’s hotspot is competing with this week’s next big thing – and generally more than one new rival, as travellers try to get ahead of the trend curve.

We’re ready to ride the wave of UCG in 2017 and happy to talk to others about sharing our board.