ABC News, Heavy.com & AOL Turn To CGM

Several new announcements illustrate how media companies are increasingly relying on consumer-generated media (CGM) to flesh out their lineups.

ABC News, for one, is preparing a new show, "i-Caught," made up of video captured by viewers' cell phones and similar digital devices.

The hour-long show--to be supported by a companion site, i-Caught.com--will get a six-week run on ABC beginning August 6, and is expected to return later in the year.

Rather than just making CGM available on TV or online, ABC News correspondents will build news stories and features around viewer-captured video.

TV networks have worked to build on this trend since the rise of YouTube and virally popularized CGM. CNN, for example, invites viewers to send in an "i-Report" with their own amateur video footage, which can then be integrated into the network's programming.

Also this week, Heavy.com, the video site popular among juveniles of all ages, launched a talent show series made up entirely of consumer-generated media. The show, "Circus of Awesome," was originally developed as a one-time promotion for Hot Tamales Ice mint flavored candy, but attracted enough attention to merit a full series.

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"'Circus of Awesome' marks the first time Heavy has taken a branded entertainment campaign created for an advertiser and developed it into an original series with a permanent home on Heavy," said Jason Marks, Heavy's vice president of programming.

In addition, AOL--on the lookout for new content to build its own network--is about to officially launch its video sharing site, AOL UnCut.

The service, which has been available in beta for nearly a year, invites mobile device uploads to the site from camcorders and digital cameras with help from technology partner VideoEgg and its video publishing service.

Like YouTube and other video-sharing sites, UnCut gives users the ability to tag videos, and integrate videos for social networking AIM pages based on their buddy lists.

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