TV news has been relatively untouched territory in the battle between cord cutters and cable companies, but a recently-launched free app for Apple TV named Watchup might make this content more relevant. Watchup bills itself as "the future of TV news," allowing users to create personalized newscasts by selecting areas of interest and TV channels relevant to them, liking and disliking content to fine-tune what they see.
There's no need for a cable subscription, and Watchup offers access to more than 160 different news sources including Bloomberg, CBS, Fox News, Sky News, and CNN. It also draws in content from over 100 local news stations and a number of digital-only sites including CNET, Gamespot, Vox, and even The Verge itself. The app is currently only available in the US, and makes money by letting partners sell ads before newscasts.
Watchup has been available on a number of platforms for a while now (including iOS, Android, Wii U, Amazon Fire TV, and Xbox 360) but it's one of only a small number of news apps on the Apple TV. The company's founder and CEO Adriano Farano also says that engagement is much higher on the big screen, telling Variety that Watchup's users watch 28 minutes of news on TV apps compared to five to ten minutes on mobile devices. "Watching the news is mainly a living-room experience," he said, adding that the company's next step is to build an app for Google's Chromecast.
But while Watchup boasts of offering "an unparalleled breadth of content," this is only true in terms of what's available for free — the app certainly doesn't have the amount of content you'd get from a cable package. Still, for a younger generation which might not even consider subscribing to cable in the first place, and for whom all video content is streamed, Watchup could be a good place to get a regular news fix for free.