The Wall Street Journal Goes Big On Video

February 10, 2014

It’s been said that we’re entering the post-literate era. I’m not quite ready to concede that. But after my experience last week at the International Builders’ Show, it’s quite clear that video is grabbing an ever-larger mindshare among the nation’s media outlets.

IBS is the nation’s largest trade show for the building products industry, and for the builders, remodelers and architects who use those products. I’ve been there with our client Marvin Windows and Doors for seven years. And I’ve never seen so much video being shot.

The trend has been building for several years. It’s routine by now for reporters and bloggers to pull out their phones and capture interviews and product shots. But this year, my eyes were really opened by what the Wall Street Journal was doing.

The WSJ had two reporters at the show, and one was detailed almost solely to capture content and post it on, a relatively new video publishing platform that the WSJ has thrown in with. Tout is something like Vine on steroids: Instead of giving you six seconds, it gives you 45. Other legacy media using the service include BBC News, People magazine, ESPN and C-SPAN. But the WSJ uses the service far more than any other outlet.

Dawn Wotapka, the Journal’s prime Touter, came by the Marvin booth and asked me to give a quick overview of the show, which I did in the video posted here.

This kind of easy, quickie video service is obviously here to stay, offering a useful avenue for media outlets looking to spread their brands — and for companies that can offer content to feed the insatiable appetite of yet another digital venue.

Many of the Tout videos, however, are poor quality. Audio, in particular, often is horrible. Recording with a tiny microphone in the midst of a crowd isn’t a recipe for good sound. And many of the interview subjects aren’t well-equipped to deliver a short, concise sound bite.

But for companies savvy enough to have a well-prepared spokesperson available, services like Tout are a great way to get your brand in front of news consumers — with the third-party credibility of an established legacy media outlet attached.