While we all wait in anticipation for Daniel Bryan and AJ's wedding on next week's Raw 1,000 (July 23, 2012), there has been another relationship starting to blossom within World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE).
Anyone who watched last Monday's (July 16) Raw saw WWE hyping Tout, a social media tool that allows users to record and upload 15-second videos. In a world already filled with status updates and tweets, one may wonder why WWE is pushing a (relatively) new medium.
Well, like anything Vince McMahon does, it's about money and pride. From WWE's Corporate website:
WWE (NYSE:WWE) announced today [July 11, 2012] an investment in and strategic partnership with Tout Industries, Inc. that will leverage WWE's vast array of assets, including television, live events, digital, print and more than 100 million social media followers to expand Tout's platform for real-time video status updates, creating a new dynamic social experience for WWE fans.
WWE has a financial stake in the success of Tout so, naturally, they will be pushing it as hard as they can in the coming weeks and months. The only way for it to gain a foothold in the crowded social media market is to align itself with a global force such as the WWE.
And WWE, forever emphasizing the "entertainment" in its name, can be put next to industry leaders such as Facebook and Twitter. Why the WWE wants to move in this direction is anyone's guess, but it sure would be a notch in Vince's belt if he could expand his empire into the Web 2.0 sphere. It's certainly a partnership with a lot of upside for both parties.
That is if everything works out.
So how has it been going after only a week?
- Immediately after WWE featured fan Touts...during Monday Night Raw, the social media platform's app skyrocketed from No. 37 to No. 6 in the Free Photo & Video category on the iTunes App Store
- The Tout app was downloaded more than 30,000 times within hours of the broadcast.
- Now, Tout is No. 116 on the overall Free Apps list (out of 900,000+ apps)
It's no Angry Birds, but those are still some fairly impressive numbers. Tout went from being relatively unknown to being given a global push by aligning itself with WWE, and it seems to be working out pretty well. That likely means we will be seeing many more fan videos on Raw with Michal Cole falling over himself putting this over as the greatest innovation in social media history.
While WWE will continue to push the idea that this is for the benefit of the fans, it really hasn't proven to be that great of a service. A couple of fans will get their 15 seconds of fame each week but at what cost? As much as we all think we can be a star if given the opportunity, there are very few fans out there who can cut a genuinely entertaining promo. Couple this with the fact WWE tends to get very heavy handed with such things (see: TRENDING WORLDWIDE), and this could make for an obnoxious few months.
This is 'Murican capitalism at its finest -- sacrifice artistic integrity for the realities of the business. There will be little to no entertainment value gained for the average fan. More likely, this will become just another pointless segment we have to sit through in order to get to the show we know and love. It's hard to talk about the artistic beauty that is professional wrestling when the largest promotion continues to push garbage like this on its fans.
Good on Tout for hitching its wagon to an industry leader and all, but thank Heaven and Earth they only made each spot 15 seconds.