This week’s reports that BusinessWeek is considering launching its own YouTube-style video channel points to an interesting question: Does such an initiative strain the limits of where user-generated video can go, or does it instead just scratch the surface?
Some aspects of the proposed BusinessWeek program struck me as perhaps pushing the limit. A user-generated business-ideas contest, on a mainstream business website? For that matter, is a buttoned-down brand like BusinessWeek suitable to UGC video at all, given that the form thus far tends to be dominated largely by humor and assorted oddities? And then there’s the matter of unruly commenters and irreverant response videos. Oh, and what about the tendency of users to hijack a UGC site (as Digg recently learned) if it shows the least tendency to attempt to “control” their behavior?
Granted, the emergence of Internet video as a platform opens huge opportunities for BusinessWeek and other established business-media outlets. The question is, would they be better off taking a more conventional approach — or if unconventional, something (I have no idea what) that doesn’t even remotely resemble YouTube?
If nothing else, we’re full-bore into experimentation. Who knows, this proposed initiative by BusinessWeek may soon end up looking tame.