A video news application with hundreds of thousands of active users is now coming to Apple TV. Watchup, as the app is called, offers a combination of national, international and local news content from 160 news sources, including newly added CNN, as well as big names like Bloomberg, CBS Interactive, PBS, Fox News, WSJ, Sky News, Washington Post, Financial Times, Fusion and others. The company also delivers local broadcasts for 100 markets across the U.S., it says.
Backed by $4.25 million in outside investment, according to CrunchBase, Watchup began back in 2012 as an iPad application that re-envisioned how a contemporary audience would watch the news. That vision has become even more relevant over the years, as consumers cut the cord with cable TV and spend more time than ever streaming video on other devices, including on mobile phones and through connected media players in the living room.
Already, Watchup is available on a number of platforms, including iOS, Android, Apple Watch, and even on Apple TV competitors like Amazon Fire TV, as well as on gaming consoles like Nintendo Wii U and Xbox 360. But the Apple TV launch should help put the app in the hands of a wider audience that likes to watch the news on the TV’s big screen.
Thanks to a new partnership with Turner Broadcasting, Watchup has now added CNN to its content lineup, which also features news delivered by online-only sites like CNET, Vox, The Verge, Gamespot, AJ+, Eater and others, in addition to more traditional fare.
To bring local news to its users, Watchup partners with broadcast affiliates of Meredith, Scripps, Tribune Media, Cox Media Group, Bonten Media Group, Hearst Television, Schurz Communications, Hubbard Broadcasting, Lilly Broadcasting, and Calkins Media. (It reached the 100 local market milestone in September, after adding McClatchy Newspapers’ digital video content, the company notes).
Viewers can choose to watch a personalized newscast on-demand, in a “lean back” viewing experience that’s more like watching regular television. These newscasts can be customized to your individual interests by first selecting the topics you care about. Then, similar to how Pandora works, you can train Watchup to better understand your tastes by liking or disliking reports as they are viewed. Watchup learns from these signals in real-time, the company claims.
In addition to watching a personalized newscast, users can also choose to browse through the available content by topic, outlets or location.
One of the challenges in the cord-cutting era is that TV viewers have lost access to a lot of news content we used to take for granted. In many cases, consumers have to install an antenna to enjoy local programming, for example.
However, a good handful of startups have been stepping into to fill that void in recent months, by offering customizable news broadcasts that, in some cases, also include local content. In addition to Watchup, competitor NewsON is bringing local news to mobile phones and the big screen, by way of Roku for the time being. And a similar personalized news #startup, Haystack TV, delivers content to mobile devices, Android TV, Chromecast and Apple TV via AirPlay.