Assessment 3

UGC & PGC: Which is the Main Trend?

Name: Joshua Chen Sun

SID: 460441739

Tutorial Time: Thursday 12pm-3pm

Tutor: Kai Soh

UGC and PGC ex


The main characteristic in Web 1.0 is editing. The contents given away on the website are postproduction works, which is a one-way relationship from website to users. One of the key elements in the transition from Web 1.0 to Web 2.0 is user participant (Hinton & Hjorth, 2013). The role of consumer in Web 2.0 could not only be the browser but also be the producer. Thereupon, UGC (User-generated Content) as a new model has become the one of the most popular hot spots in 21st. One of the most successful UGC cases is YouTube, which was established on the basis of UGC model and has tremendously developed to one of the top websites on the Internet (Welbourne and Grant, 2015). UGC helps users and websites to interact with each other in social media systems. Even a part of the works selected will be featured on official websites which constitute a interactive relationship between users and websites. However, limitation of UGC also exists such as low quality and massive sources could bring a negative emotion to audience. PGC (professionally generated content) is born to satisfy the multiplex demands of audience. Netflix, one of the top streaming media companies, created PGC “Netflix Original” on their services in order to prepaid the copyright of the original shows and sign the contract of two seasons of most series automatically (Kim, 2016). This is more specialized than other competitors to attract and retain their audiences. Both YouTube and Netflix are the leading companies to use user participant content and have already obtained prodigious achievements. This paper will discuss which of the content will become the main trend in the next revolution of Internet development, UGC or PGC?


The Concepts of UGC and PGC

Generally speaking, UGC (User-generated Content) could be defined as the same as UCC (User-created Content). The only difference between UGC and UCC is whether the content is made by users or others. The latest understanding of the term UGC is the depiction of content produced by the consumers and terminal users such as blogs, videos, GIF (Graphic Interchange Format), memes, comments and any other types of contents shared public availably on the social network society (Beal, 2017). As Krogh (2014) declared, not all UGC are created by non-professionals. Those part of contents uploaded by professionals and browsed freely for public should also called UGC. Thus, the idea of UGC could be redefined   as nonprofitable online user-made content.

By the contract, user-generated content creator could be treated as amateur science communicator (Welbourne and Grant, 2015). Which means anyone who is access to the network society is able to be UGC producer. Thereupon, the limitation of UGC is inevitably exposed to full view with low quality, less restriction and lack of professional skills. Up to the commercial level, in spite of the high-yield level and widely-spread influence, UGC is still not the gold-lettered signboard of a considerable income and well advertising for most markets. Hence, a new model comes on stage of we-media era named PGC (Professionally Generated Content).

PGC which is more specialized than UGC is the content created by special groups with professional skills and technique (Ai, 2016). Assume UGC is the sampan, PGC would be more like an aircraft carrier because of the specialized content it has. That means PGC has broader and deeper content for commercialization such as build a corporate image promotion. In general case, content produced professionally by enterprises called professionally generated content (Welbourne and Grant, 2015). While some contents are created by individuals who also have mastery of a particular skill or technique with commerce value and social significance like the contributor. Game company will select brilliant works and purchase the copyright from the original contributors. Contributors even will receive job offers from the game company such as Blizzard Entertainment. Those contents are given away for profit making should also be called PGC. Therefore, the idea of PGC could be redefined as profitable online specialized content.

From UGC to PGC

Knoblauch (2014) states that UGC is more influential than other media (traditional media and other non-UGC media) investigated from 839 millennials (18-36) by Ipsos company and the Social Media Advertising Consortium. Millennials who are born with the invention of the Internet from 1977 to 1994 trust UGC 50% more than other media. One of the most famous millennials could be Mark Zuckerberg, also known as world youngest billionaire who is the founder of Facebook which is a successful social communication system base on UGC mode. One of the most successful UGCs on Facebook is the campaign “share a coke” which has already achieved a huge success. With the hashtag #ShareaCoke, consumers create an online media content and engage into the campaign. Furthermore, nearly 25 million consumers follow Coke-Cola on Facebook. 

share a cokeBoth Facebook and “Share a Coke” show the highly user participation of UGC mode. However, the limitation of UGC still exists. This is also the main reason companies turn to transmit their marketing strategy from UGC to PGC to promote the competitiveness in the rising flood of UGC environment. YouTube was founded in 2005 based on UGC mode and has rapidly become one of the giant streaming media websites in the Internet. After being purchased by Google, the content on YouTube started to transit from UGC to PGC such as YouTube Red, a subscription music streaming service which has obtained 1.5 million subscribers in 2 years (Roberts, 2016). Another content created by YouTube named YouTube TV has already had access to five main markets in America since it has been released on February 28 in 2017.

YouTube Red

Kim (2012) outlined the concern about the future of UGC will end with the rise of PGC. However, according to the Isos survey and the research from Welbourne and Grant (2016), UGC is still the most trusted media content. PGC is also indispensable because of the impure content created by users such as fake news which are supposed to be filtered on the Internet. PGC help companies fit in with the needs of the content friendly network society in Web 2.0. 

Related to The Campaign and Discussion

The main theory of social media used in our campaign could be user-generated content. In our first activity, the pictures taken by our photographer are edited in Photoshop (a picture processing software) to generate the creative memes with meaningful texts. All the memes are used to help introduce the performers and advertise the music concerts on Instagram every week. To engage the audiences and the online consumers into our campaign, the second activity named “Guess which melody I am humming?” launched on our official  Facebook account are required users to hum a melody from the song which is in the list of the concert. Three friends are invited to join in the guessing game and asked to pass on in the same way. The function of Facebook plays a vital role in this campaign. The three buttons “Like, Comment and Share” are the key for the user participation.

Discussion: It seems like both activities are UGC, but our campaign for free music concert is created by a team consisting of editor, photographer and video post producer. What if the audiences are attracted by our campaign and buy the tickets to the other concerts, does that means the content become a professionally generated content or a combination of both UGC and PGC? 


The examples of the YouTube and the contents our group created in the campaign prove the noncontradiction between UGC an PGC. On the contrary, UGC and PGC could be inseparably interconnected. UGC is more like normal students in a comprehensive university studying in variety majors. While PGC could be the top students in different areas. A mature Internet content should be created based on the combination of UGC and PGC. UGC is the key to attract audiences by contributing user participant and flows. PGC would be used to specialize the depth of the content and build the brand promotion at the same time. The combination of UGC and PGC strategy are supposed to become the new step of the next generation of Internet development. 


Ai, Q. (2016). The transition of China’s video website: a case study of LeEco. Retrieved from

Beal, V. (2017, April 13).  What is the User-generated Content? Retrieved from

Editors, T. N. S. (2015). The millennials: Americans born 1977 to 1994 (6th ed.). Amityville: New Strategist Press, LLC.

Hinton, S. & Hjorth, L. (2013). Participation and user created content. In Understanding social media (pp. 55-76). London: SAGE Publications Ltd. doi: 10.4135/9781446270189.n4

Kim, J. (2012). The institutionalization of YouTube: From user-generated content to professionally generated content. Media, Culture & Society, 34(1), 53-67. doi:10.1177/0163443711427199

Knoblauch, M. (2014, April 09) Millennials Trust User-Generated Content 50% More Than Other Media. Retrieved from

Krogh, P. (2014, April 16). UGC and PGC. Retrieved from

Robert, H. (2016, November 3). YouTube’s ad-free paid subscription service looks like it is struggling to take off. Retrieved from

Welbourne, D. J., & Grant, W. J. (2016). Science communication on YouTube: Factors that affect channel and video popularity. Public Understanding of Science, 25(6), 706-718. doi:10.1177/0963662515572068


2 thoughts on “UGC & PGC: Which is the Main Trend?

  1. Hello, Joshua!
    I am attracted to read your article because your title interests me a lot. As I write my article focusing on the concept of UGC and UCC, I wonder how you understand them sharing the almost similar connotation as you have mentioned and how you make comparison between UGC and PGC.
    Actually, I quite agree with your point that the combination of UGC and PGC is the contributor of a mature Internet content because I believe that good ideas do not always come from professional people as there is a Chinese saying goes that there are a lot of people with real talents just among the people. The metaphor you have used to describe UGC as normal students and PGC as top students is so vivid that your argument becomes more convincing.
    The limitations of UGC you have pointed out is also one respect I am concerned about. This makes me think of the mock-up campaign #BeTheFilter of our group this semester. The background of this campaign is the flood of fake news spreading on social media. I hold the same opinion with you that the concept of PGC would help to address this problem if they are able to do the work of filtering. Here, I would like to share something with you. To counter many prevailing unscrupulous fake news websites these days, some fact-check websites have established. I recommend this website to you: Hope you will find something interesting there.


    1. Wow! Thank you for your nice responding to my journal. Actually, I am still confused about the difference between UCC and UGC. After reading the article “Participation in social media and UCC, UGC” from Yao, I found the main difference between these two ideas could be who actually create the original content. I should have mentioned it in my essay. Thank you for reminding me of that. Here is the link of the author who outlined very well about the distinction of UCC and UGC. By the way, she also participated in the Filter in assessment 2. Hope it will help you to your work.
      ( content)


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