An interview with Kristi Ross, the president of dough, Inc. on their 'tastytrade' channel

As platforms like Apple TV and Roku become even more popular among consumers, non-traditional companies are launching successful programming for niche topics that are succeeding in the OTT environment. dough, Inc.'s "tastytrades" channel has been growing in popularity with their daily eight hours of live programming with a mission to make finance fun.

dough, Inc. isn't a media company, or even an OTT platform, it's an options trading software that has taken content marketing to a whole new level. Found Remote interviewed Kristi Ross their Co-CEO & President about the success of their channel.

Found Remote: Why was dough launched?

Kristi Ross: We developed dough, our highly-visual trading platform, because we wanted to provide more than a one-dimensional experience for our viewers. We wanted them to feel part of the show and be able to engage in and maneuver the markets alongside us. dough as a trading platform, provides a much more interactive and intuitive experience than reading a screen with a bunch of numbers. We’ve fully integrated our tastytrade content and concepts throughout dough.

In addition, we’ve been in and around the trading industry for decades and have seen that the average age of a brokerage customer has gotten older. There were no real, new younger investors entering. We wanted to create a platform built for the millennial...visual, mobile, on-the-go content anytime, anywhere...with multiple ways to learn and enter and be part of the financial markets, in a way that’s empowering, yet fun.

dough allows users to put their investment ideas into action quickly and easily. We’ve made complex concepts simple for the end user. We remove the real “work” in finding trades to enter by clearing the noise for people who think trading has to be about trying to fully understand the markets and every bit of financial information out there, and instead we distil it down to a logical, mechanical approach to investing by using options. We've taken what we learned about trading technology from building thinkorswim (which sold to TDAmeritrade for $750 million in 2009), and matched it with what we learned at tastytrade about the importance of engaging content. dough is ultimately the technological expression of the tastytrade content, packaged to empower the do-it-yourself investor. And we deliver it for free.

FR: How is tastytrade competing as a new kind of TV/video network?

KR: tastytrade and dough are unlike any products out there in the financial and trading industry. We provide a full 360-experience for the end user, besides the fact of making finance fun, we make it actionable. Customers start with us, learn from us, stay with us, trade with us. They are or become fully engaged in the markets, without needing to be obsessed about every uptick or down tick in the market.

We provide entertainment, education and an amazing culture/community among our viewers so they feel like they are truly part of us. Having a brokerage account used to mean you have money to invest and you’d occasionally call your broker and you wait and hope your stock goes up, simply being a spectator on the sidelines. Having a brokerage account today using dough means you are part of a bigger community of people who care about their money and don’t get bored talking about it or watching it...it’s a group where no one needs a finance degree and everyone wants to be a part of it. It’s not a spectator sport anymore. We’ve created a new kind of video network, where viewers can “play” along, learn, interact and be part of a larger “tastynation” trading community in their everyday life.

FR: What platforms is it on and why? Which do best?

KR: Our users can find our content live streaming on tastytrade.com, as well as on iTunes podcasts, Apple Radio, Roku, Amazon, YouTube, multiple apps and dough.com.

Our tastytrade and dough websites and mobile apps tend to get the most viewership because customers can do everything right from our platforms.

Speaking of, we have five mobile apps, which can be found in Apple’s App store and the Android marketplace. They include:

  • dough mobile app (which streams our show)
  • tastytrade live app (which streams our show)
  • Theo - applies theoretical pricing to your positions after market hours
  • Where’s Bob? - a location-based app where users can find and talk to each other about trading
  • Bob the Trader - the #1 financial grossing app in iTunes in 2014 (which streams our show)

FR: What demographics does this type of content appeal to?

KR: Our content and technology appeal to all ages, at all levels of investing. Our content appeals to millennials all the way up to baby boomers, whether they are new to trading or more advanced. You don’t need a lot of money to start investing and we provide programming for small accounts, as well as programming for customers with more capital to invest. We have over 40 different shows, from ‘Where Do I Start?’ and ‘Step Up to Options’ for beginners to more data driven shows like ‘Market Measures’ and ‘Splash into Futures’ for the more advanced trader. Our hosts include trading veterans, like my co-CEO Tom Sosnoff and his co-host Tony Battista who traded on the CBOE floor for 20 years...to hosts that are traders starting out in their 20s. Viewers can follow and learn alongside them, no matter their age.

There are three reasons people shy away from do-it-yourself investing: know-how, time, money. We provide all the education, we teach a logical mechanical approach clearing the noise which reduces time, and money viewers can start with just $2k in their brokerage account.

FR: How does social media play a role?

KR: Social media is at the core of what we do. We have a live Twitter feed called @tastyfeed which automatically populates after each segment airs and has a link back to our site. We also have Twitter and Facebook accounts for both tastytrade and dough.

Additionally, Instagram is important to us because we aim to make options trading more visual and share pictures of the talent and culture here at tastytrade and dough.

Also, our co-hosts use Twitter to talk directly to our customers and are quick to respond, making them feel like they are part of the show as it’s happening, a second screen experience, and that they have extended access to real traders, for free.

FR: What's your background?

KR: I’ve spent a majority of my career in and around the financial markets and trading technology.

Prior to dough, Inc., I was the CFO of thinkorswim -- a trading technology platform offering industry-leading trading tools, streaming real-time data, and powerful analytics, all in one fully integrated platform -- which sold to TD Ameritrade for $750M in 2009. As CFO of thinkorswim, I led numerous mergers, acquisitions and integrations.

Before thinkorswim, I was CFO of Automated Trading Desk Specialists, a stock specialist on the Chicago Stock Exchange (CHX). I started my career in public accounting, specializing in financial services industry clientele including individual traders, proprietary, market makers, specialists, discount brokerage and advisory firms. I’m also a certified public accountant and have been in and around the trading business for more than 20 years.

FR: Anything else?

KR: dough, inc. is made up of tastytrade.com and dough.com and both brands combined give users a 360-experience for investing. We make finance fun and provide actionable content. We help our viewers understand how to maneuver the markets by providing a logical, mechanical approach to investing with a higher probability of success. We distil down complex concepts and make them simple and visual.

We are in the content era where online video consumption has exploded and mobile access is critical for all content providers. One dimensional information and delivery is not good enough. Financial companies need to provide easily accessible, interesting and actionable content to have any sort of meaningful impact on the do-it-yourself investor...and that’s exactly what we’re doing, building for the next generation of investors.

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