One of my favourite media server systems is Plex, they have server software so you can host your own content and recently added a cloud based solution. Plex have just announced that they have acquired news streaming service Watchup. Watchup has over 150 news sources and it will enable Plex users to bring in customised news content into Plex alongside their own content. It is going to be interesting to see how Plex integrates Watchup into its service.
Here is the full press release:
Plex Acquires Streaming News Service Watchup
Driving Toward the Future of TV, Plex Grows Content Offering, Making News Easily Accessible on All Mobile and Home Streaming Devices
Los Gatos, Calif. (January 31, 2017) — Plex, the streaming media app that organizes your favorite media content and streams it to all your devices, today announced that it has acquired the streaming news service, Watchup. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. The acquisition of Watchup is an important milestone for Plex in its mission to become the way people discover, enjoy, and share all of their media on all of their devices.
Reinventing the News Experience
Watchup is reinventing the way people consume news with a personalized and trusted user experience that aggregates hundreds of the world’s most reputable news sources. Customers can easily build their own personalized newscasts from local, national, and international news sources based on individual tastes and preferences.
“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,” said Adriano Farano, founder and CEO of Watchup. “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’s more than 150 publisher partners include CBS, CNN, Vox, Euronews, and Hearst Television, as well as publishers that have invested directly in the company, such as Tribune Media, McClatchy and Turner Broadcasting. A number of prominent news veterans have also invested in the company, including Ned Lamont, founder of Campus Televideo, as well as NextNews Ventures partners Gordon Crovitz, Jim Friedlich and Craig Forman, who are also former Wall Street Journal executives. (Forman has recently been appointed CEO of McClatchy.)
“At McClatchy we have always prided ourselves on being an independent, trustworthy news provider that is not afraid to innovate and change with the times,” said Andy Pergam, Vice President, Video and New Ventures for McClatchy. “We believe in the premise of Watchup and have worked with them for years. We see Plex as the way forward for delivering on the promise of serving trusted, reliable news and content through a platform that makes it easy to access by the consumer.”
Fixing Today’s Media Experience
“The massive increase in the volume and diversity of content, connected devices, apps, and sources of connected entertainment has produced a fragmented and frustrating experience for consumers to find and enjoy content that they care about. Often, to assess their viewing options, users must explore each content source independently,” said Brett Sappington, Senior Director of Research, Parks Associates. “Not being able to find content is effectively the same as not having access to it.”
Plex helps over 10 million people organize all of their video, photo, and music content and stream it to all of their devices. With a beautiful, simple, and consistent user experience and 4+ star rated apps on over 40 platforms, Plex has quickly become a top 10 streaming app on OTT devices. With the recent additions of Plex DVR and Plex Cloud, Plex has extended its content offering to become an essential app for the 35 percent of people between the ages of 18 and 35 who have cancelled cable, or never subscribed.
“People have to navigate a ridiculous number of interfaces and apps to get to their favorite content,” said Keith Valory, CEO of Plex. “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.”
A Better Solution for OTT Content Providers
The disaggregated app environment has made it difficult for most content providers to get their content in front of users. Nielsen recently reported that while the content boom is a boon for consumers, the ever-growing menu of options makes it challenging to capture viewers’ attention. While the top 10 OTT apps actually provide a small percentage of the total content available, they get the lion’s share of viewership because users are not willing to sort through more than a few apps to find what they want.
There are very few content providers that have the scale and brand to build an app that can even break into the top 50 apps on most platforms. And it is expensive and time-consuming to build apps for more than a few platforms, even if you have the team and expertise to do it well. It is also becoming harder and harder for content providers to engage with their users, get useful user data, and to get fair branding attribution for their content. All of this makes it difficult for content providers to achieve their primary objectives: to acquire, engage, and re-engage users, and ultimately monetize their content.
“The industry has a lot of work to do to deliver on the promise of enjoying content anytime, anywhere, on any device,” said Valory. “We are really looking forward to tackling this challenge together with our new publisher partners and future content partners. We believe the only way to solve these problems is to put our users back in control of their content with a simple, personalized user experience and to provide a transparent content platform that puts content providers back in control of their brand, their viewer data, and engaging with their viewers.”
Plex organizes your media in one central app that works on all of your devices, so you can instantly access and enjoy it anytime, anywhere. Whether it’s movies, shows, news, or your photo or music library, Plex makes it all easy to find and enjoy. For a complete list of all of the Plex features and capabilities visit www.plex.tv.
Founded in 2009, Plex is privately held with funding from Kleiner Perkins, Klass Capital, Tribal Brands, and other investors. For more information, please visit https://plex.tv, or follow @plex on Twitter or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/plexapp.