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.

Additional Resources:

10 predictions in online finance for 2010

I’ve been thinking about what the future has in store for investors and I’d like 2010to use this post to help clarify my thinking.   Essentially, I’d like to hone in on what 2010 portends for online finance.  I’m looking for some broader trends, as well as some company-specific prognostication.

  1. AOL’s ascension, Yahoo Finance’s continued domination, Google Finance tweaks:  Now that AOL has fully cut the cord from Time Warner after opening up the portal, it’s got to fend for itself.  AOL Money’s new incarnation is DailyFinance, a formidable offering worthy of investor eyeballs.  DailyFinance is the crux around which AOL has woven its numerous niche sites, like financial blogging site BloggingStocks and personal finance site, WalletPop.  Look to AOL to get its ship in order and move up the traffic charts.  Yahoo Finance, barring a sale of the tech firm, will continue to dominate, without really any changes to the platform.  They’re pretty much on cruise control but will still get the vast majority of financial traffic.  Google Finance will still suffer from lack of attention but the search firm will turn its sites on generating traffic to the fledgling site given the fact that CPMs are high in the financial vertical.
  2. Consolidation in the brokerage industry: While many of the old-school online brokers (what a weird expression) are still wary of the changes social media has ushered in to online finance, a couple of the startups in the field (Zecco, TradeKing, TradeMonster) understand it very well.  I think you’ll see the big boys make a small tuck-in acquisition of one or two of these players and continue to run them under their own brand.  An acquisition would be  a relatively inexpensive laboratory for the big brokers to begin to get a feel for the second generation online trading environments.
  3. Small RIAs begin to adopt expert communities in greater numbers: Covestor and kaChing offer asset managers an alternative distribution mechanism to bring in assets.  Through a transparent trading platform and encouraged blogging, expert communities provide a business model to the financial blogosphere as participants get paid by investors to mirror their trading activity in their own brokerage accounts.
  4. Howard Lindzon does it again: StockTwits gets an offer for $25 howard_stocktwitsmillion — I’m not convinced he accepts it or where the offer comes from, but his winning streak continues.
  5. SeekingAlpha raises another round of financing: On top of the round they just raised, the financial content aggregator will go to the till to raise more funds as profitability remains somewhat elusive and management gets aggressive about growth.
  6. Reuters buys Wikinvest: Reuters understands branded content (a wikinvestla Felix Salmon and recent purchase of Breaking Views) but also understands the power of social media.  Wikinvest would be an interesting addition to the recent rollout of sweet, new Reuters.com.
  7. Jim Cramer and TheStreet.com left with few options: TheStreet.com sees revenues decrease and isn’t able to find a buyer or strategic investor.  Their blend of freemium content doesn’t resonate well with the public and they continue to struggle to find footing.  While current columnists won’t see the whupping that Dykstra took this year, the firm prepares for bankruptcy in 2011.
  8. Bloomberg, Bloomberg, Bloomberg: Bloomberg fires on all cylinders.  As it continues to own the institutional space, with BusinessWeek in tow, Bloomberg gets serious about retail financial/business content.  They hire more than 5 people to run Bloomberg.com and they make other smart, strategic acquisitions to pimp out their portfolio of properties.  For a firm that gets so little of online finance traffic (I think last numbers were less than 5% of online finance traffic), they have a long runway ahead of them.
  9. James Altucher becomes  the man: Blending smarts with a good altucher_dailyfinance_blogwatchsense of humor, Altucher is on his way to ubiquity with great positioning in the WSJ, RealMoney, and AOL’s DailyFinance. Look to see more of Altucher’s market commentary and stock picks.  By the end of 2010, Altucher will launch his own mutual fund as he goes retail.
  10. Maria Bartiromo and Tiger Woods: 2010 will reveal that the queen of CNBC will have traveled with Tiger on his private jet numerous times with no chaperon.  Well, not really.  But who hasn’t been with Tiger…

Wishing everyone a great holiday season and a prosperous 2010.  It can only get better from here (I hope).