Video contests for user-generated video content is becoming a big business. Since the user-generated content Doritos ad appeared on the 2007 Super Bowl broadcast (hmm…now who played in that game again?), the online buzz has been that advertising is trending away from UGC competitions. 

But there’s still plenty of money out there for freelancers struggling to get noticed.  Since online video has proven it’s here to stay, and UGC quality is only going to increase, big business is realizing it can get an excellent, successful ad spot fast and on the cheap simply by sponsoring a video contest.

Video contests cost a company a lot less than hiring a big-name marketing agency, who might charge upwards of a couple million to produce a 60-second TV ad.  A business can offer a $10-grand prize (or even less) for a UGC video and get a spot with just as much creativity and spark as a professional-grade piece. 

Furthermore, UGC often garners more attention from the rank-and-file online community (aka customers). To help keep online videographers up-to-date on the contest scene, filmmaker Justin Johnson and programmer/coder Aaron Pollock started the website Online Video Contests ( back in 2006. 

This site’s streamlined, Tumblr-esque page summarizes selected video contests at a glance, including sponsor, number of days left to deadline, and prize amount, and includes links to each contest for more info and entry guidelines.  The day I last looked at the site (August 8, 2010), there were over 120 contests listed, which when combined had prize amounts totaling more than $300,000.  Not too shabby. Video contests are worth investigating for new videographers and professionals alike.  Winning a competition sponsored by a well-known company will get you more visibility than small private contracts can offer, even over years of work.  Check Online Video Contests out to learn more.