Tout.com, the 15-second video cross between Twitter and YouTube, is enjoying a very rapid growth phase fueled by its partnership with WWE Entertainment, the producers of the wildly popular wrestling shows and television programs. WWE put $5 million of the current total of $15 million invested in Tout and uses it to help fans directly connect with its vast universe of stars.
Indeed, Tout’s growth of up to 150 million Tout updates and at a rate of 20 percent to 30 percent per month has caught the attention of CNBC, who asked Michael to come on and talk about the app:
The WWE marriage points to the future of the Tout app, and what I learned in my latest conversation with Tout CEO Michael Downing was to expect many more groupings like that one and use of what he calls “Premium Service” – the most current example is The Wall Street Journal.
“The Wall Street Journal came to us after seeing the potential of Tout for journalism, and had specific requests,” Downing said. Foremost among them was the inclusion of a provision that allows a WSJ Tout user to record a 45-second video, rather than a 15-second one. That helps WSJ reporters use the micro-video-blogging app to have short, concise interviews with subjects or make quick updates from the scene of a story.
Here’s an example from the WSJ’s Tout stream:
Another partnership is expected to be announced with the BBC. In fact, Mr. Downing Touted his visit to the UK headquarters of the legendary media giant:
But that partnership will also point to a new phase in Tout.com’s development: monetized partner platforms where the user can use their Touts to earn income. This is different from the YouTube Partner program that this blogger belongs to and is designed (now) for the large media company like the BBC or the WSJ. “We’re working on a smaller version of the partner plan that we’ll roll out down the road,” Downing said.
My Personal View
Michael asked me to try Tout – well, insisted – two years ago, and I’m completely hooked on this product. It’s a powerfully effective way to show exactly what’s going on around you, and share what you’re thinking or doing, at any point in time. It’s better than a live stream because you don’t have to worry about the transmission stopping without your knoweldge, and because it’s segmented and tied to separate uploads, those transmissions are searchable in Google and other search engines.
Indeed, the full power of Tout has not been realized by many, including many social media experts, and even the Tout minders themselves. I see the future of Tout as being more than just journalism but a continuation of the development of what I call “micro entertainment” where I can watch the doings of my favorite celebrities, or be at the most desired events, even if it’s in 15 to 45 second segments.
That’s really monetizable content – something advertisers and brand-builders should be aware of.
Before it’s too late.