As a 2010-11 Knight Fellow at Stanford University, Watchup chief executive officer and co-founder Adriano Farano fell in love with tablets and researched new ways to augment the news experience on mobile devices. With 12 years of experience operating digital magazines in Europe, Farano said Watchup was a way to “marry the two ideas” of digital and news.
The new version of Watchup offers many features. When users turn on Watchup, their newscast starts playing continuously. “Readers want that immediate experience,” Farano said. “It delivers the value immediately.”
Another unique feature is what Farano calls the “lasagna design.” He said the approach allows users to experience the news with several layers of content and functionalities, such as dragging panels down to browse videos or to subscribe to more channels.
For multitasking users, they can drag panels to watch videos and read related articles at the same time without disrupting the video experience. “It’s two screens for the price of one,” Farano said.
Currently, Watchup offers 200 channels from U.S. and international news outlets. Farano said they recently launched in France and Italy and plan to expand in Hong Kong and Taiwan. Premium partners include the Wall Street Journal, the Associated Press, the I Files, PBS Newshour and Univision.
In 2012, Watchup won a Knight News Challenge grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. Farano said the award validated the fact that “digital media is booming” especially on the tablet. Right now, Watchup is only available on the iPad, but Farano revealed they are “actively working” on making it available as a Google Glass application and he is looking for media partners in this venture.
Moving forward, Farano said his goal is to build the best platform for newswatching. He advised news organizations to focus on how to deliver their content while adapting to the digital landscape.
“Watchup delivers the highest level of engagement,” he said. “Our platform is extremely promising and it’s recognized by Apple and the Knight Foundation. It’s a lot of innovation without spending a lot of money.”
Farano said although they are not focused on revenue yet, he is experimenting with streaming video ads. “The monetization side will come down the road.”
For more information, visit watchup.com.