Nieman Foundation at Harvard
HOME
          
LATEST STORY
Pacific Content’s podcasts are all sponsored by companies — but at least there aren’t any ads
ABOUT                    SUBSCRIBE
June 19, 2012, 11 a.m.
Aggregation & Discovery

Watchup wants to be a “Hulu for news junkies” on your iPad

Knight News Challenge winner Watchup aggregates videos from YouTube for a new iPad app that lets users customize their own mini-newscasts.

Watch-whenever-you-want Family Guy reruns are great — but have you ever wished there was a Hulu for the news? The team behind Knight News Challenge winner Watchup hopes so.

Watchup is an iPad app that lets users curate their own newscasts. Pick 10 stories from 10 channels, then lean back with your morning coffee and watch as the stories roll past without user intervention. Channels cover topics like finance, technology, breaking news, business, and other news categories. The app comes preloaded with 10 channels, but users will be able to customize from a list of about 40 total.

CEO Adriano Farano says his goal is to make it easy for news junkies to catch up with video news at peak iPad use times, in the morning and evening, without having to jump back and forth between different apps or websites. Essentially, the goal is to have quality video find the consumer rather than making users seek it out in multiple places. Here’s a quick demo from the Watchup website:

So where do these quality videos come from? Watchup is working on lining up news partners, but at launch they’re relying mainly on the vast video seas of YouTube, where lots of newsrooms are already posting their content. “We basically have The Wall Street Journal, CNN, ABC, PBS — all the major news channels are there,” Farano told me. “We are talking to some publishers whose content is not available through YouTube for some reason, and usually they’re extremely interested to partner with us. The initial lineup will be mainly from YouTube.”

Watchup aims to be a solution for people who feel “lost” amid the endless stream of videos on YouTube, and want a simpler experience. (“It’s so easy that even your grandmother can get it,” Farano says.) Users can develop a single playlist in one place for a watching experience that’s more personalized than TV and more “lean back” than clicking around online. “The whole experience is about bringing down the discovery point to just a few seconds,” he said.

Farano says Watchup plans to generate revenue from pre-roll ads that will air before videos, and the plan is to give news organizations a cut. The trick will be to create an interface that’s appealing enough to users that they’ll abandon engrained habits and be willing to watch ads that they might otherwise be able to avoid. Farano argues it’s also an ideal solution for news organizations like The Wall Street Journal that find they can’t produce enough video to meet advertising demand.

“You are selling out your inventory,” Farano said. “You have a problem. You have advertisers but you don’t have enough to sell them, so the way we come into the game is we say, ‘Hey, we are a Hulu for news junkies…Give us your ads and we share the revenue.”

Watchup’s Knight News Challenge funding will come as a venture capital investment instead of as a grant; the amount of the funding was not disclosed.

POSTED     June 19, 2012, 11 a.m.
SEE MORE ON Aggregation & Discovery
PART OF A SERIES     Knight News Challenge 2012
SHARE THIS STORY
   
Show comments  
Show tags
 
Join the 15,000 who get the freshest future-of-journalism news in our daily email.
Pacific Content’s podcasts are all sponsored by companies — but at least there aren’t any ads
Branded podcasts want to break out of the traditional intrusive model of advertising: “There are no interruptions for two or three minutes in the middle of a story. There are no top and tail ad breaks. There are no coupon codes.”
Hot Pod: What should an on-demand news podcast look like?
Plus: Remixing podcast talent to build new shows, Google prepares to enter the market in a big way, and how to avoid “radiosplaining.”
Newsonomics: The New York Times restarts its new-product model, in Spanish
After a few expensive misfires, the Times is building new products on a smaller, more targeted scale.
What to read next
0
tweets
Out of many, NPR One: The app that wants to be the “Netflix of listening” gets more local
A big update moves NPR One yet another step in the direction of becoming a one-stop shop for all audio content, from local newscasts to podcasts outside the NPR world.
0Need to find, keep, and maximize talent today? Look to an old-school example, Gene Roberts
“Virtually every hire should be part of a long-range master plan of journalistic excellence.”
0The New York Times and WBUR are bringing ‘Modern Love’ essays to life with sounds and celebrity reads
“We’re trying to touch people just through sound, in a really profound way.”
These stories are our most popular on Twitter over the past 30 days.
See all our most recent pieces ➚
Fuego is our heat-seeking Twitter bot, tracking the links the future-of-journalism crowd is talking about most on Twitter.
Here are a few of the top links Fuego’s currently watching.   Get the full Fuego ➚
Encyclo is our encyclopedia of the future of news, chronicling the key players in journalism’s evolution.
Here are a few of the entries you’ll find in Encyclo.   Get the full Encyclo ➚
The Guardian
Creative Commons
Newsweek
Crosscut
Google
WyoFile
U.S. News & World Report
Salon
Gannett
Voice of San Diego
IRE/NICAR
Upworthy