Tout it out: The new social media phenomenon

Twitter took the social media world by storm with its micro blogging concept that lets users post messages of up to 140 characters.

Tout phone appNow Tout is hoping to do the same for video. A kind of cross between Twitter and You Tube, users post 15-second videos.

Already, Tout has some of the world’s big players signed up. Keen to give viewers quick-burst information, the Wall Street Journal has teamed up with Tout, with reporters uploading videos straight from their smartphones. And, across the pond, the Tyne and Wear arm of broadcasting giant Sky is also on there, getting into the festive spirit with a Christmas competition and a host of heart-warming videos.

WWE champ John CenaYou can also follow WWE champ John Cena, American footballing team the San Francisco 49ers or sports journalist Skip Bayless to name but a few.

Tout is just a year old after launching with a concept that’s pretty straightforward – users post their short videos and people who follow you can reply with their own 15-second message.

Stats released earlier in the year showed more than 23 million people had visited Tout since its launch, including 3.7 million in just a month. In August, new figures showed the site had added another six million users, an impressive growth.

In total, Tout now averages 13 million visitors every month to its site and mobile apps, with traffic increasing by between 35 and 40 per cent each month.

Celebrities are embracing the new site as a way to engage with fans. In April, the CBS network let its stars take over its social media accounts with ShootandShare week via Tout and other social media forums. It’s also used by retired basketball player Shaquille O’ Neal, Survivor host Jess Probst, actress Whoopi Goldberg and wrestler Zack Ryder.

Sky Tyne and Wear is on toutAs Tout itself puts it: “Tout is a precocious toddler in Internet years, just over a year old but mastering Big Data and massive video delivery and playing in the sandbox with big celebs, media companies and brands.”Tout phone apps

But it certainly has big ambitions – and the backers to help it reach them. Funding sources include the WWE, well-known institutional investor Gordon Crawford and the Stanford Research Institute.

According to WWE executive vice-president Stephanie McMahon: “Video expression is the next evolution from text. TV producers are so engaged because you can put the Touts anywhere and really drive traffic to our channels.”

According to founder and CEO Michael Downing, Tout is the perfect place for broadcasters and celebrities to communicate with their fans. “While Twitter is fantastic, Tout is much more of an understandable medium for them to be pushing out short video to connect with their audiences.”

Now it’s hard to find a US TV outlet not calling on viewers to “Tout us” with their opinions. ESPN, CBS, Bloomberg and CNBC all have links on Tout to videos that have been posted by their anchors and stars. And the site is expected to be embraced by more users in the UK.