Social Network Tout Partners With WWE, Makes Financing Milestone
WWE has partnered with social networking application Tout, which allows users to exchange 15-second video status updates, and will incorporate Tout into its web presence and upcoming TV broadcasts. Tout also announced today the completion of its $13.4 million series B financing, with the wrestling promoter among its investors.
Similar to Twitter, Tout lets users follow each other’s video updates and broadcast updates to their followers, and the platform currently counts Ryan Seacrest, Whoopi Goldberg, Mitt Romney and WWE’s John Cena among its users.
Under the partnership with WWE, fans’ Touts will be included in WWE television programming and on in-arena screens as well as on WWE’s website and social network pages, beginning with the 1,000th episode of Monday Night Raw on July 23. Fans will also be able to participate in question-and-answer sessions with WWE wrestlers via Tout before the episode. Following the episode, WWE will host “Tout Tuesdays” on its website for Monday Night Raw viewers to discuss the previous night’s episode.
WWE is heavily promoting its 1,000 Raw episode through social media -- Charlie Sheen has been tapped to live-tweet the event as “Celebrity Social Media Ambassador,” and WWE will also roll out a Twitter interactivity system called RAWactive for the episode -- and WWE is already very active online, with over 9 million Facebook likes and almost 1.5 million Twitter followers.
“WWE is in a class by itself as a media giant who has innovatively grown their business through social media,” Tout CEO Michael Downing said in a statement. “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.”
To complete its series B financing, Tout secured blue-chip investors 819 Capital, Stan Shuman and Jack Schneider from investment bank Allen & Co., and media investor Gordon Crawford alongside WWE.
The San Franciso-based Tout grew out of SRI (the Stanford Research Institute), which also gave rise to the voice-responsive “personal assistant” Siri featured in Apple’s latest iPhone model. SRI and investment companies Horizons Ventures and Seavest Ventures have been among Tout’s investors since before the series B financing completion.
“We’ve assembled a powerful group of enthusiastic, hands-on investors who recognize the paradigm shift we’re seeing from a text-based to a visual -- particularly video-centric -- online experience,” Downing said in a statement.