Wall Street Journal launches new video hub, plans Facebook integration

The Wall Street Journal’s full-throttle video ambitions now extend to a new website that brings together a once disparate series of streams.
The site, WSJ Live, mirrors the always-on channel the Journal has been beaming to iPods (s AAPL), Xboxes (s MSFT) and other devices. The new centralized platform, which is also drawing content from Barron’s and other Dow Jones properties, provides a TV-channel like experience and aims for higher viewer quality and easier discoverability.
The move is part of the Journal’s strategy ┬áto extend its brand into a video universe in order to complement its print products and tap into the high premium of video ad dollars. The strategy is being overseen by digital maven Alisa Bowen, who was promoted this week to head of product for all of Dow Jones.
The new central hub adds some coherence to WSJ Live, which is popping up all over the place but so far lacks an overall editorial identity. A user turning on the iPhone app, for instance, might see anything from a Journal reporter discussing mortgages to a random nature feature.
As we’ve discussed before, the Journal’s ambition to be first to every platform could pay off at a time when customers are discovering the still nascent world of always-on video. But the company is still taking a risk by flooding those platforms with questionable content. This morning, for instance, the primary hub was streaming a grainy video of an unpolished reporter talking about Euro 2012 from what appears to be his hotel room:

Is anyone actually watching this? Even a devout Journal reader with a passion for soccer would soon flip to ESPN, the BBC or, well, anything but this. It’s early days yet, though, and the Journal still has time to separate the wheat from the chaff as it perfects the technical dimensions of WSJ Live. These include new sharing tools that allow viewers to more easily pass video to friends and colleagues and, soon, an integration with Facebook’s (s FB) Social Graph that will notify others what they are watching.