Tout It Out!


By: Nu Yang

Tout It Out!

More than 200 newspaper publishers—including the Wall Street Journal and USA Today—are using Tout, a mobile video publishing platform that enables journalists to capture videos on their smartphones or tablets. But even small news organizations can take advantage of this solution that promises higher reader engagement and additional revenue opportunities.


Launched in 2011, the San Francisco-based Tout wanted to create a new model for real-time publishing. Chief executive officer Michael Downing said after spending time with publishers, he found “every single paper out there is grappling with video.”  

“When publishers think video, they assume it has to be a high-end studio production, but those aren’t the kind of videos being consumed,” Downing said. “High-end production doesn’t always translate to higher engagement. Look at YouTube. That content is uniquely created for the mobile experience. (The clips) are short and made in real time, which drives engagement.” Tout’s own video length defaults to 15 seconds.  

In April, journalist Sonya Paclob of the York (Pa.) Daily Record reported from the Boston Marathon bombing using Tout. “I tweeted and used (Tout) to document my experiences throughout the day,” she said in a Tout case study. “The smaller the equipment, the less awareness I brought on myself. I was able to weave in and out of big news media outlets with their big camera set-ups.”  

Tout offers several packages, including a free version with mobile capture, real time widgets, simple stats and full social sharing capabilities. For publishers, Downing recommends the pro or enterprise packages. Both are priced based on the paper’s web traffic and come with a free 30-day free trial. Tout also provides comprehensive, real-time analytics that helps publishers track engagement and advertising campaigns.  

Downing said Tout has helped many publishers drive revenue. “Their sellers are able to sell high CPM pre-roll video ads to local businesses.” He explained that video content on a webpage has five to eight times more engagement than static images.  

While most papers generate revenue from display ads, Downing said they only brought in between $2 to $3 CPM while video ads saw $15 to $25 CPM.  “That’s a drastic difference that has the potential to make a dramatic impact,” he said.  

“Newspapers are in a unique spot,” Downing said. “They have the physical presence to maintain relationships with local businesses. Newspapers own that domain. I believe in the next year, we’ll see more newspapers bringing video advertising to local businesses.”  

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