By Jenny Wittman
In today’s dense media landscape, it’s easy to experience information overload. The gatekeepers of the past have been overtaken by a limitless, free supply of online information that varies in quality. With video news in particular, we can waste a lot of time just looking for a quality clip, and constantly searching Google, YouTube, Hulu and RSS feeds can be tedious.
A new iPad-only app, Watchup, hopes to pare down the clutter and offer its users an auto-updated and heavily curated list of high-quality news video clips to choose from. From there, they can create a personalized video playlists to watch instantly or save for later. Videos included come from a variety of professional daily news channels covering technology, breaking news, business, finance and other topics.
Adriano Farano, CEO and co-founder of Watchup, is excited about the launch and explained why such a service is necessary in today’s online environment.
“We are bombarded with endless amounts of information. What I would call ‘info-besity’—information obesity. And we need a diet,” he said. “Today people spend almost as much time to look for videos than to actually consume them.”
Born in Salerno, Italy, Farano also lived in Rome, Strasbourg, France and Paris. A former 2011 Knight Fellow, he now lives in Silicon Valley and works as an entrepreneur-in-residence at StartX, the Stanford startups accelerator.
Farano has an extensive background in publishing and digital media. In 2001 he co-founded Café Babel, one of the longest-running Internet-only publications, and the first to offer news and blogging in six languages across Europe. In 2009, he helped transition OWNI France from a blog into an award-winning media group.
Excitement for video technology stems from an early age, as Farano grew up around the industry. “My dad used to have a local TV station in southern Italy in the 80’s and I’ve always been passionate about video and media,” he said. “So for me, it’s a super exciting opportunity to fix real problems and fit it into my passion for high quality reporting and being at the intersection between technology and journalism.”
Not to compete directly with YouTube or Hulu, Watchup aims to deliver only high-quality clips from major news outlets, so user-generated content is not involved . And while Hulu features news clips, the distraction from sitcom, movie and reality show listings can easily clutter up the viewer’s space.
Since social sharing has become an important aspect of media consumption, Watchup’s simple interface allows users to easily able to share items to Twitter. “From there, we’ll see down the road what users want,” Farano explained.
Now available to download through the Apple App Store, Farano is satisfied with Watchup’s easy-to-use functions and stylish format. “We’ve been testing and testing and testing,” he said. “I’m almost over-confident that users are going to love it.”
Even before its launch, industry experts awarded Watchup with the Knight News Challenge, an investment award that is only given to six companies from over 1,000 applicants. “We are extremely proud about that,” Farano said.
For more information, visit Watchup on Twitter at @watchup. Farano also tweets from @farano.
Photo via Watchup.com