VisionTV toys with UGC in holiday contest

In the past, VisionTV's holiday contests haven't been all that engaging beyond the traditional sense of getting viewers to enter to win a DVD or a trip to Italy. But Canada's multi-faith net is now asking for uploads in a cautious test of the user-generated waters.

VisionTV launched its first-ever user-generated content initiative this week, aiming to get viewers rummaging through their attics for crazy Christmas video for uploading at The aim is to get viewers posting written recollections, pictures and videos that sum up the spirit of Christmas for a chance to win a 37-inch LCD widescreen LG Television when the contest wraps on Dec. 25.

VisionTV’s acting director audience and brand marketing, Mario Tassone, says the move toward online user-generated content is a test, and the net will use the contest’s participation numbers to gauge whether future experiments can draw a crowd for sponsors or marketers – in the form of Christmas content or possibly year-round initiatives. ‘In years past, we’ve done contests where you watch that and you can win this, with very limited engagement with our audiences,’ says Tassone, citing a previous two-month contest that attracted between 20,000 and 30,000 entries for a chance to win a trip to Italy. ‘This will be the first time, via user-generated content, where we’re reaching out to them.’

The contest is getting promo with 30-second on-air spots tied to flagship shows airing 5 pm through 7 pm, Mondays through Thursdays – such as Everwood, Touched by an Angel and Seventh Heaven – along with the multi-faith net’s key Christmas programming. Print ads pushing programming and the contest will also be placed in the Globe and Mail, National Post and Metro‘s Toronto and Vancouver free dailies. The contest’s microsite is also a top priority at VisionTV’s main website, although online media buys aren’t planned at this time.