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Watchup Adds Automated, Personalized News Playlists To Its Tablet Video App

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Watchup, a startup hoping to reinvent the news-watching experience on the iPad, has released an update that should make it even more convenient for users.

When I spoke to co-founder Adriano Farano back in December, he talked about how people used to gather around the TV for the nightly newscast — something that’s been lost in the current fragmented environment. Watchup tries to recapture some of the experience, while also allowing people to assemble a newscast of their own, pulling clips from sources like the Wall Street Journal, the Associated Press, and the PBS NewsHour. And the latest features offer an interesting mix between the old and the new.

With the new Automatic Newscast, you no longer have to build the playlist yourself. Instead, if you touch a button, Watchup will assemble the playlist for you, based on factors like the channels you seem to prefer, the video types that you watch the most often, and the videos that you’ve skipped. Farano likes to describe people watching their Watchup newscasts while they’re performing some other task, such as cooking dinner. Making the setup process as easy as possible should help with that.

Watchup has also added a Daily Newscast feature, which is basically a variation on the automated playlist, but set to play at the time and for the duration that you specify. Do you want to watch 15 minutes of news every morning at 7:30 as you get ready for work? Watchup will assemble the newscast for you, and it will send you a notification at 7:30 when it’s ready. It’s an interesting way to return to that idea of the once-a-day broadcast that captures all the news you need to know, but in a way that fits into your schedule. (And obviously, you can watch your playlist later if your schedule changes and you’re not available at a specific time.)

I tried out the daily playlist for myself, and it was as easy to create as Farano claimed. The videos in my newscast covered a pretty broad range of topics, and none that were unusually relevant to my interests, but that’s probably because I’m not a regular Watchup viewer (sorry Adriano!). And hey, there’s nothing wrong with a general interest newscast.

Watchup, which was incubated at StartX, recently raised $500,000 from the Knight Foundation and others. Farano noted that it’s currently being included in a PBS NewsHour ad and featured in the News category of the Apple App Store.

You can download Watchup here.