Reuters Insider: good for financial content but not sure about investors

VOD for investors

Thomson Reuters unveiled its Reuters Insider product today. Geared towards clients of investment terminals, Insider is essentially an aggregator of video content, sucking in both Reuters proprietary content and that from outside partners.  It’s going to be like a professional version of Seeking Alpha — but with video, not text.

Trader You Tube?  Not quite

But far from being the trader You Tube (a la the FT), it’s a shot across the Bloomberg’s bow in the highly-competitive terminal business.  Reuters one-ups Bloomberg which, in spite of having Bloomberg TV, hasn’t done a whole lot in video (expect that to change with Bloomberg’s recent purchase of retail investor-oriented, BusinessWeek).

From the FT:

The company said its “Insider” service would transform “financial programming from a passive one-way broadcast into a highly collaborative and personalised medium”.

Besides misspelling personalized, I think the FT is off here.  I think this is a great tool for content providers to further reach investors (in this case, professionals), but is it really good for investors?  Also, how is this platform highly collaborative — text posts allow for commentary and discussion to occur in the comment section below but video?  Video is an extremely passive medium.  That said, I think if done correctly, the personalization (with a ‘z’) can be really cool.  This narrowcasting beats the pants off of generalized drivel coming from 24/7 cable media.

I haven’t seen the demo (it’s not available yet — why would you launch a product with a media blitz before a demo is ready??) but I’m not convinced video is being used by investors in a way that would warrant such an investment.  Meaning, I think the supply of video is such where it made a lot of sense for Reuters to aggregate this stuff to their clients.  I’m just not sure the demand is there from the people who will consume this stuff — investors.

Text vs. Video

Sure, investors have CNBC streaming in the background on the trading floor, but are they watching critically?  Are they basing trade decisions on what they hear?  My feeling is that they aren’t — at least, not yet.   Traders/investors/research analysts consume a ton of content every day and text is still the best way to plow through this stuff.

I understand that Reuters will be providing transcripts of the 3-5 minute segments but people don’t speak the same way they write.  Investment writing is typically concise, to-the-point, and supporting materials can be used to help prove a thesis.  TV/video is not like that.

I think content creators will be tripping over themselves to join the Reuters network and we’ll see more industry sources turn to video to market themselves but I’m not sure we’ll see the same take-up by the investment community.

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