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Reuters launches Insider - 'YouTube for traders'

Thomson Reuters on Tuesday launched an online interactive financial video service, Reuters Insider - dubbed "YouTube for traders".

The service, two years in the making, is aimed at half a million financial subscribers who will pay up to $2,000 a month to receive a stream of 3,000 online news clips a week. It will be available on desktops, BlackBerries, iPhones and iPads, live or on-demand.

Thomson Reuters hopes Insider will shape the future of news. It is part of a $1 billion technology investment at the group, which wants to embed itself more firmly into customers’ daily work and differentiate itself further from Bloomberg and other competitors. 

About 15 per cent of the content will come from Reuters’ own studios in Hong Kong, London and New York and desktop nodes while the rest will come from media outlets like CNBC, Sky and Forbes, along with content from analysts.

“The trend that we are seeing in professional information is not all that different than consumer media,” said Devin Wenig, chief executive for the markets division – essentially the old Reuters business plus Thomson Financial. “People are increasingly visual, and they expect to access information in that way. They want to be able to look at a chief executive and see the expression on the analyst’s face.”

The rise of the Internet means that traders today are more familiar with clicking their way through YouTube than memorising codes for using Reuters’ trading screens and information feeds. “You see very different behaviour from a 25-year-old just out of the London School of Economics to a 55-year-old who has been trading for the last 25 years,” said Wenig. “People who grew up with Google have totally different expectations of how to interact with information and media. We can’t ignore that.”

“What if this becomes the way people consume news?” Mike Stepanovich, managing editor of Insider, said. “What if all news providers decide to come together to share content and syndicate information?”

The idea is to harness Insider’s technology, which allows videos to be searched in real time, to create what he calls a marketplace for news. News organisations that signed up could submit video, pictures and text to the Reuters platform. They would not pay for the exposure, and Reuters would not pay them for their material.

Stepanovich agreed with The Times that “once someone aggregates lots of sources ... the value of having a global news organisation [such as Reuters] kind of goes away”. But he added: “If someone’s going to disrupt your business model, it had best be you. This is the future of the agency business.”

Financial customers are the priority for Insider but Stepanovich said a consumer-orientated product was being considered under which anyone could access searchable video content from a variety of publishers.

As part of the initiative, Reuters is sharing a suite of tools for desktop video production, "even if some of the footage that comes back looks like a hostage video," The New York Times said. It sounds wonderful, and probably will be one day, but the density and relevance of information still need work, The New York Times said. Thomson Reuters says it will iron out glitches as they occur. "It’s not exactly ‘Glee.’ It’s not even ‘Mad Money.’ But it beats downloading and reading the PDF of the latest media research report by a mile,” the newspaper said.

"The breadth and depth of Reuters global editorial coverage has allowed us the opportunity to create something truly unique," said David Schlesinger, editor-in-chief. "By leveraging our 2,800 journalists worldwide, Reuters Insider provides our clients with global financial market news and the credibility that accompanies local access and knowledge."

Reuters Insider is a key part of Thomson Reuters’ New Era, New Tools programme designed to address the challenges faced by the financial services community. It follows the recent launch of Elektron, a new high speed data distribution network, and will be fully integrated into Eikon, the company's next-generation information desktop offering due to launch later this year. Eikon aims to create a common platform for all of Thomson Reuters’ 200 financial products. It is likely to look and feel more like a conventional web portal and all the group’s 500,000 customers will be moved on to it, replacing 3000Xtra as the flagship product.

“We are not going to be the greatest technology company in the world and nor should we be,” said Wenig. “But technology is an enabler. We have to put money into it. We can’t just talk about it. I don’t want to turn us into a consumer company but you ignore at your peril what YouTube and Twitter have done to online behaviour.”

Wenig said in a launch message to staff: "As I've said before, we have started down the road of making a number of radical transformations – to our products, our platforms and how we run our business – that will make an enormous difference for our customers. Congratulations to everyone who made today's exciting next step possible."



Thomson Reuters