User-Generated Content For Television – How To Generate High Quality UGC For Broadcast – Tips From ITV

September 2014 -

User-Generated Content is one of the hottest digital media trends of 2014. What is better than learning how to leverage great User-Generated Content from one of the most innovative  brands in broadcast television? ITV is one of our clients that shares funny and entertaining videos from their audience. We tracked down Athena Witter, Executive Producer of ITV, and asked her to share some of her favorite UGC tips.

Why did you decide to leverage User-Generated Content?

ITV embraces User-Generated Content, from social media to integrated editorial show campaigns and in some cases for our advertising/sponsor brands. Following the digital trends we wanted to further tap into the mobile generation and give them a platform to showcase their talents – from extraordinary performances, funny outtakes, pranks and brilliant lyrical performances. With the rise of the YouTube generation and online stars, ITV Network commissioned two programmes which had User-Generated Content at it’s heart.

How does User-Generated Content add value to your work? Did it change the way viewers engage with your network?

Last year we relaunched and updated our platform to a mobile-first design using responsive websites. With the growth of mobile devices and connected TV, the behaviour of our audience has changed and the way in which we talk to our audience has grown with them including the integration of great tools which allow us to turn around interactive content quickly.

What are some examples of how ITV is using UGC?

Let Me Entertain You

(Copyright © STV & ITV. All rights reserved.)

Let Me Entertain You dished up the best lip-syncing and dancing that the World Wide Web had to offer and we encouraged the audience at home to submit their own videos inspired by examples on the web. Each week, our presenter Michael Underwood, asked viewers to submit their creations via the upload tool on with their bestlip-syncing,dancing, and general musical mayhem. Each clip shown was awarded with £200

Example – Jo Green and Katy Lister gathered all their friends together to monkey around to the Bruno Mars hit The Lazy Song.

Not too lazy to monkey around - let me entertain you itv ITV UGC


Viral Tap

(Copyright © Yalli Productions& Vision Independent Productions for ITV. All rights reserved.)

Viral Tap is a British comedy panel game show. The show is presented by Caroline Flack and stars regular panelists Matt Richardson, Carly Smallman, and Jim Chapman as a side show presenter.

Audience members submit viral videos hoping to be featured and for a chance to win either £250, £500 or £1,000.

This girl won £1000 and earned the title of Best Clip of the Series singing to her webcam before a chair falls onto her.

ViralTap ITV


I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here!

(Copyright © ITV Studios forITV. All rights reserved.)

A television game show series presented by Ant & Dec (Anthony McPartlin and Declan Donnelly) follows up to 12 celebrities who live together in a jungle environment for a few weeks. They have no luxuries, and compete to be crowned King or Queen of the jungle.

ITV’s spin-off show I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! is a show for the viewers, covering the highs and lows of camp life. This spin-off show is presented by Laura Whitmore, Joe Swash and Rob Beckett .

A key segment of the show calls on the audience to submit their brilliant representations of camp life. We received some hilarious, artistic, and down-right bizarre submissions, the best of which were featured on the show. At the end, the best submissions were rewarded in a Hall of Fame segment.


Clip 1

Courtesy of Martin Mills

Jungle fan Martin recreated the canopy carnage incident as Matthew Wright encouraged revolution within the camp.


Clip 2

Courtesy of Ben Taylor

Our mini camp fans skillfully animate a conversation between Amy and Joey, entirely with lego.


How do you produce higher quality User-Generated Content?

Quality is subjective – I’ve worked in digital for nearly 15 years and have seen this content area change significantly. Looking after the Entertainment portfolio for ITV means constantly keeping up with trends and trying something new. Reviewing and changing the ways in which we engage with our audience is necessary to increase interactions and growth of our digital properties.

Some of the tips I share may be obvious but we tend to forget them when creating content that has digital at the forefront. The bottom line: Don’t try to do EVERYTHING, less is more:

  • Be clear on what you are looking for.
  • Don’t ask for too many different things that could confuse the audience.
  • Demonstrate using example content.
  • Create competition and excitement for users to submit content – for a prize, to be on TV, or to become an online star.
  • Really integrate it into editorial air-time. Marketing is the key to success and so is understanding the audience you are trying to reach out to.
  • Be clear with users about content ownership;what content will be used, and where.
  • Respond to your audience. Engage with them across all your available platforms and that means talking to them.
  • Last, and by no means least, create a sense of community by being personal. Have a two way conversation.

…UGC only works if it’s funny, exciting, genuinely unique and sometimes shocking!

What do you predict for the future of User-Generated Content?

Our audience has become our brand creator. Brands want to get closer to the audience and our audience has something to create and share. However, digital is a fast-paced market and what’s on trend today isn’t necessarily on trend tomorrow. The challenge ahead for programme creators is to achieve quality and not necessarily quantity. Therefore, programme creators need to think harder about how to integrate the content in the programme. It is a challenge, but also can be the most rewarding when you find the gems.

We hope you learned something from ITV. If you have any question, please leave them in the comments.

Learn more about our user-generate software and how we can help you gather, manage and publish your rich media more effective. >>Learn More<<

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