WSJ.com has been pumping up its video assets aggressively in the last year, with new scheduled programming and market updates throughout the day. They appear to have enough of a critical mass to bring that content off their site and onto a range of mobile devices and set top platforms. "WSJ Live" offers the four hours of video the site says it generates each day in an on demand format. Unlike the slow roll-out that often begins on the iPad, WSJ is doing a full court press here with apps available on iPad, connected TVs from Panasonic, Samsung, Sony and Vizio as well as Boxee, Yahoo Connected TV and the Etisalat service, which distributes content into the UAE.
WSJ Live leverages the regularly updated NewsHub show from the main site but it also pulls into a lean-back experience an auto-generated playlist of the latest vids from the full library of seven half hour live shows, interviews and events.
On the iPad version we tried the interface and it's pleasant enough, with a pop-up rail that contains a topic index and thumbnails that offer headlines, run length and a tap through to a lead graph. In fact you can let the main video run and just browse the thumbnail graphs to catch up on top stories.There are some glitches in the app, however. It doesn't track where you left off with the app, so restarting can just trigger the same video you last watched. WSJ has integrated its ads into the river of video thumbnails, which is a good idea. But some of the pre-rolls in between clips bled their audio tracks into the program. One thumbnail had headlines from the text version of WSJ, but clicking into them just kicked me out to the App Store and the paid WSJ app's sale page. Fidelity, Aetna and Cognizant were visible sponsors in the new model and generally the ads slipped neatly between shows. Here is an early example of a major brand not only distributing its video almost everywhere but also getting a platform there for its advertisers.