I have been saying for a while then when an actor, especially comedians, decide to do their own UGC that it would be huge. I had brought this up in panels and other speaking engagements well over a year ago and the example I always used was Will Ferrell. Well wait no longer the day has come at www.funnyordie.com. The video on the homepage is one made with Will Ferrell and it is simple UGC. The brilliance of this is that it clearly cost almost nothing to make. The site launched just over a week ago and this particular video has already had over 7 Million views.
Now if I am Will Ferrell I should be asking myself "how can I monetize this." It took virtually no time or money to make and I am sure he is filled with tremendously funny ideas for shorts. He is already a brand and already has a huge fan base with no where to go to get their fill of him. Imagine that he creates this content and has companies give him money for product placement or something even more creative. The possibilities are endless for someone like Will Ferrell to make massive amounts of revenue off something like his own UGC.
This for a celebrity also has incredible brand awareness and marketing potential. The main reason that an actor/actress can generate such high movie salaries is because of their brand awareness. Notice when a certain actor is hot how many movies they seem to show up in some 2 or 3 a year or more. When the public awareness of a actor/actress is high movie producers want to capitalize on their public awareness. So someone like Will Ferrell can use his own UGC content to keep his public awareness high and fan base engaged which in the end will lead to a maintaining of the steep fees he can command to be in a film or even raise them higher.
Let's use an example. Imagine he had Willferrell.com, which he can't cause some yahoo already owns it, and willferrell.com gets 20million visitors a month. A studio would look at that and do the math and figure at least 20 million people are going to go see a film he is in. This is amazingly powerful and incredibly easy for Will Ferrell to do.
I believe this also holds true for the music industry. There are so many artists out there that it is absolutely essential to spend massive amounts of marketing dollars before dropping a CD to bring an artist back into the public eye. Why not keep that artist engaged with fans online in new and creative ways so that they never loose their fan/public awareness thus making marketing easier, promotion easier and basically guarantee sales.
This is how the entertainment industry needs to view new media and the power of the internet. As the single greatest marketing and promotional engine they have ever had in the history of their industry.