Watchup, the startup aiming to create the tablet version of the daily news broadcast, has released version 2.0 of its iPad app, adding features for both casual and power users.
The Watchup app pulls news videos from a range of sources, such as the Associated Press, PBS NewsHour, and the Wall Street Journal, and it stitches them together into a continuous playlist. Initially, users had to manually choose from Watchup’s videos, but in a recent update the company added the ability to automatically assemble a playlist based on your preferences, and to schedule a daily newscast.
With version 2.0, Watchup says it has made the process completely frictionless. Instead of opening up the app and being confronted with different menus and options, if you start it now, the videos just automatically play.
At the same time, you can take control of the experience if you want. If you drag the upper panel of the app down, you’ll be able to browse all of Watchup’s channels and videos. You can also read more about the topic in a given video by dragging the right panel, which should bring up related news articles. (To show those articles, co-founder Adriano Farano said the app is pulling “the most relevant metadata” from the video, then conducting a Bing search for those terms.)
So if you just want to turn Watchup on and let it play (while you’re getting ready for work, perhaps, or cooking dinner), you can do that. If you want to really control the news you watch and dig into specific stories, you can do that, too. Farano described the company’s approach as creating “a video-centric news experience” — the idea is that Watchup can continue to build things around the video, but video should be the core of the app.
Among its various video sources, Watchup has a number of cross-promotion deals, and Farano said the company recently signed its first monetization deal, with Univision paying to promote its presence in the app. He said the business model is still very experimental, and that the company is “open to other revenue streams.”