Studies have shown that iPad users tend to lean back when on the device, diving deep into long-form news, entertainment and even advertising (see here, here and here for some data). Watchup, a video news app for the iPad, hopes to capitalize on this trend.
The soon-to-launch app, which won a prestigious Knight Foundations News Challenge award earlier this week, wants to make it easier for news junkies to find compelling, high-quality videos.
“We live in a world where users are bombarded by an ocean of information,” Watchup chief executive Adriano Farano told me. “We want to make sure that media brands can still play the role of the lighthouse in this ocean. Watchup will be an oasis of good content.”
Watchup will work by allowing users to create their own personalized “newscasts,” with videos from some of the top news outlets around the world. The app will be free and will generate revenue through advertising, with the hope that the calibre of videos will attract top dollar. You can view a demo of the app here:
In emphasizing the prestige and specificity of its videos, Watchup is trying to separate itself from the other online video sites. The heavily-curated Hulu has high-quality clips from major news outlets, but it also has hundreds of other types of videos to distract you. The lightly-curated YouTube is notorious for the sheer number of videos on the site, some (most?) of which are of questionable quality. Watchup wants to lead you to targeted, superior news content.
“YouTube is great when you’re searching for a video. We’re not competing with YouTube in the search business,” Farano said. “But if you’re looking for great piece of reporting on Egypt’s elections, the Euro crisis or a new scientific theory, then Watchup is the perfect place for that.”
And as tablet ownership grows, more and more people will want to lean back and watch this type of hard-hitting news on their device. In fact, Farano suggests that for many people, the TV has become too intrusive. With the iPad, on the other hand, “you can have a more intimate experience with video news.”
We now curl up to read our iPad edition of the New Yorker. We curl up to watch episodes of Girls on HBOGo. And it seems that we might soon curl up to view our nightly news. The disruption of the media industry continues.