Creating a 'professional' Web 2.0

French digital talent agency, Eyeka, has set up base in Singapore. Its founder explains the lure of user-generated content for advertisers today.

For many companies, the concept of Web 2.0 poses a means to "connect" with the younger online audience, but there's one problem--often, quality seems at polar opposites to the idea of user-generated content.

Thus reads Paris-based Eyeka's value proposition for its advertising clientele.

Founded in 2006, the company is part online platform provider, part talent agency--it provides clients the capability to set up a video portal online and sends out a casting call for submissions through its database of some 25,000 creative talent.

And it isn't a group "just anyone" can join--according to Gilles Babinet, Eyeka president and co-founder, the pool is made up of semi-professional to professional designers, photographers and videographers who had to gain admission by submitting their portfolios.

This is what Babinet hopes will create a "professional YouTube", he said, referring to the popular online video portal.

"When Web 2.0 came up, people said the traditional media would die. But that has not happened. You still need good content producers.

"Today we see the power of user-generated content, of viral videos. But this [area] is not something an agency would be particularly good at," he said in an interview with ZDNet Asia.

Connecting with the online audience
Babinet thinks the way to catch up with user online viewing habits is to be a part of the "noise", but in a way that companies can control and derive measurable returns.

The video clips flooding sites such as YouTube and Dailymotion are not controlled for quality or content, which keeps advertisers interested in participating in this "new media" unsure of associating the content with their brands, said Babinet.

Instead of traditional "top-down" marketing structures where advertisers talk "at" customers, Web 2.0 is the "next phase of evolution" which can make the connection with new media consumers, he said.

The company which just set up base in in Singapore is hoping to tap a wider pool of developers in the region.

With the "new middle class" in Asia comes new markets and a different style of content that is better suited to the consumers here, he said.

"Eyeka is mindful of the subtle nuances of the way different cultures express themselves, how they use and interface with the Web," said Babinet, adding that the diversity of cultures and "cities at varying stages of economic development" is greater here than that seen in the West.

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