WWE, which has been aggressive in using Twitter as a promotional tool over the past year, has made an undisclosed investment in social video venture Tout Industries.
Deal will promote the service across WWE’s various platforms, including its weekly TV shows, live events, website YouTube channel and magazines.
WWE is turning to Tout to feature videos from fans during the July 23 broadcast of the 1,000th episode of “Monday Night Raw” on USA Network.
After the airing, videos will be shown on WWE’s websites and on in-arena video displays.
Additionally, WWE will launch “Tout Tuesdays” giving fans the opportunity to discuss what happened the previous night on “Raw.”
“WWE looks forward to partnering with Tout to grow this innovative social media platform,” said Vince McMahon, WWE chairman and CEO. “Tout’s real-time video technology will become a critical component of fan interactivity in our weekly television programming and will be utilized to connect WWE directly with our fans in new ways.”
Tout enables users to shoot 15-second video status updates via smartphones and webcams. The “Touts” can then be published to Tout.com, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, SMS and email contacts. Through Tout’s reply feature, users can engage in Tout conversations.
Other investors in Tout include SRI International (Stanford Research Institute), 819 Capital, Horizons Ventures, Seavest Ventures, Anduin Ventures, Gordy Crawford, Stan Shuman and Jack Schneider from Allen & Co.
Over 23 million people have used Tout since its launch, with “Good Morning America,” “Live With Kelly,” “The Wendy Williams Show,” CNBC’s “Fast Money” and celebrities like Shaquille O’Neal and Jeff Probst from “Survivor” having used the service. Stars like Madonna and Stephen Spielberg have answered user’s Touted questions from the red carpet, and movies like 20th Century Fox’s “We Bought A Zoo” and Lionsgate’s “Madea: Witness Protection” using Tout to launch and promote their movies.
WWE has seen its online presence grow to more than 100 million social media followers, 1 billion video views on YouTube and an average of 50 trending topics every week on Twitter, and sees social media as a way to better interact with its fanbase, rather than launch traditional marketing campaigns.
“WWE is in a class by itself as a media giant who has innovatively grown their business through social media,” said Michael Downing, CEO of Tout. “We could not envision a better partner to show how the Tout platform powers high-impact, real-time engagement across broadcast TV, digital and live events.”