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User-generated content: the entertainment news of the future?

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December 3, 2007

Circular Entertainment (pictured: Nokia's N81)

Circular Entertainment (pictured: Nokia's N81)

December 4, 2007 According to a prediction from Nokia, up to 25% of the entertainment consumed by people in five years time will have been created, edited and shared within their peer circle rather than coming out of traditional media groups. This user-generated content phenomenon has been dubbed “Circular Entertainment” and could be the future of news information delivery.

The statement from Nokia is backed by a global study, entitled "A Glimpse of the Next Episode", carried out by The Future Laboratory and views from industry leading figures with Nokia's own research from its 900 million consumers around the world. The mobile phone giant has constructed a global picture of what it believes entertainment will look like over the next five years. With a marked rise in awareness of movements such as Wikipedia, Creative Commons and blogging, there has been a shift in thinking regarding user-generated content. No longer is it considered untrustworthy or inaccurate as was the case many years ago. “The trends we are seeing show us that people will have a genuine desire not only to create and share their own content, but also to remix it, mash it up and pass it on within their peer groups - a form of collaborative social media," said Mark Selby, Vice President, Multimedia, Nokia. Of the 9000 people surveyed in the Future Laboratory study a staggering 39% watch TV on the internet, - 46% regularly use an instant messenger program and 29% regularly blog.

The way the company views Circular Entertainment working is that someone shares video footage they shot on their mobile phone from a night out with a friend, that friend takes that footage and adds an MP3 file, then passes it to another friend. That friend edits the footage by adding some photographs and passes it on to another friend and so on. The content keeps circulating between friends.

According to Tom Savigar, Trends Director at The Future Laboratory, "Consumers are increasingly demanding their entertainment be truly immersive, engaging and collaborative. Whereas once the act of watching, reading and hearing entertainment was passive, consumers now and in the future will be active and unrestrained by the ubiquitous nature of circular entertainment.” This “immersive living” is the rise of lifestyles which blur the reality of being on and offline. Entertainment will no longer be segmented; people can access and create it wherever they are.

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