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User generated book of Festivals created by Independents United

User generated book of Festivals created by Independents United

A ‘user generated book’ of Festival Tweets, status updates and photos submitted by festival goers this summer is being produced by independent marketing agency, Independents United (IU).

Festival Annual is a hard-back, full-colour book of photos and stories from all the UK’s major festivals. All the book’s content will be submitted by festival goers, via an online community living on MySpace (around 25,000 members), Twitter, and Facebook.

Independents United published the first Festival Annual in 2009, to prove that combining an online community with a physical product is an effective way of monetising online audiences.

As last year, the book will be sold through major bookshops (last year’s line up included Waterstones, Amazon, Blackwells and Foyles); retailers (Paul Smith and Liberty sold the Annual in 2009); and direct to the Festival Annual community.

The idea for the Festival Annual came from the IU team’s direct experience from working, performing and filming at festivals, having witnessed the extraordinary growth in festival culture at first hand. Alongside the huge increases in the numbers of festivals, the team noticed the changing nature of festivals, with music becoming just part of a much broader experience.

Frank Lampen, Creative Director at IU, says: “Last year we showed how successful inviting people to contribute content for a book could be. This year we’re involving the community even more, and giving them much more content.”

IU has done a deal with MySpace for the Festival Annual community to have its home on MySpace, in return for an extensive promotion of the project across MySpace’s user base, driving photo uploads and views to online galleries.

The agency will also use social media such as Facebook and Twitter to build the community. Twitter in particular will be used to target individual festival goers with an interest in photography, urging them to take their cameras and upload their photos.

This year FA will increase the content it distributes digitally with downloadable digital chapters released across the summer online and on ipads.

IU will use the online community throughout the summer of 2010 to build a large email database, which will be used to market the Festival Annual back to the community that helped create it. Digital previews of the book will be available before it is published and sold in the Autumn.

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