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Streaming media app Plex has acquired streaming news app Watchup. All of Watchup’s employees are expected to join the company and Plex will be integrating news into its main app. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
The Stanford-based startup is trying to change how people consume news by offering a personalized and trusted user experience. The app lets you queue up news videos and watch them uninterrupted from local, national, and international news sources. Watchup has over 150 video news publishers, such as CBS, CNN, Vox, Euronews, and Hearst Television.
Buying Watchup is meant to grow Plex as the content streaming service. Plex gives two reasons for the purchase: the aforementioned partnerships with publishers and Watchup’s engineering group that uses machine learning to process the news and generate a personalized feed.
“As a former journalist turned Knight journalism fellow at Stanford University, I started Watchup to bring the power of video journalism to over-the-top streaming devices so citizens can become better informed,” Watchup founder and CEO Adriano Farano said in a statement. “By joining Plex, we are accelerating the pace of this transition in partnership with many of the most trusted news organizations. Together with the unparalleled streaming device footprint of Plex, we can reinvent the video news experience for today’s news viewers.”
Watchup also includes publishers that have invested directly in the company, such as Tribune Media, McClatchy, and Turner Broadcasting. Prominent news veterans have invested in the company, as well, including Ned Lamont, founder of Campus Televideo, as well as NextNews Ventures partners and former Wall Street Journal executives Gordon Crovitz, Jim Friedlich, and Craig Forman.
Plex has over 10 million users who organize their video, photo, and music content in the app so they can stream it to their devices. Integrating Watchup means the app will be able to offer news, as well.
That’s the pitch to users. As for content providers, Plex believes this consolidation will make it easier to get the news in front of users, get useful user data, and get fair branding attribution.
“People have to navigate a ridiculous number of interfaces and apps to get to their favorite content,” Plex CEO Keith Valory said in a statement. “Our mission at Plex has always been to provide our users with one simple and personalized window into all of their media, accessible from any device. Adding a trusted and reliable news experience into Plex, so that people can choose and organize the news they care about, along with the other content they care about, is a natural next step for us.”
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