John Lansing believes that within the next few years, at least half of the online content for his four lifestyle cable networks will be user-generated.
That’s a bold commitment to consumer control from the president of Scripps Networks, which includes HGTV, Food Network, DIY Network and Fine Living. “It’s becoming clear to us that there really is a place for the professional side and the user-generated side, as long as the content is presented for what it is,” he says.
After all, it’s hard to argue with the more than 10 million page views that HGTV ’s social networking site “Rate My Space” yielded in just six weeks earlier this year. That’s why Scripps recently launched social media initiatives for both the DIY Network and Fine Living.
DIY’s social media site, “My Projects,” will center on home repair; Fine Living’s site, “We Live Here,” based on the show of the same name, will let users create their own profile pages about where they like to eat, shop and stay.
Social media features like user-generated content, tagging, rating and posting videos and photos can expand Web traffic and impressions quickly, driving up ad dollars.
Web sites that have added social media tools have seen traffic jumps of 30 percent to 100 percent, according to KickApps, the technology provider behind the DIY social media project.
Advertisers are taking note. Ad spending on social networks in the United States will rise to $865 million this year, up from $350 million last year, eMarketer says.