Plex Combats ‘Fake News’ with Watchup News App Acquisition

Plex hopes to counter the spread of ‘fake news’ with its acquisition of Watchup, a streaming news service that is home to more than 150 credible news sources.

Jordan O'Brien

Plex, the popular media management and streaming service for DIYs, exhibited for the first time at CEDIA 2016 as it launched a new program for professional installers with a paid service for advanced features.

While Plex is mostly known as a free media-management service for (let’s be honest here) ripped DVDs, it offers a couple unique features. 

Users can store videos anywhere on the home network and stream them through local devices, such as TVs, set-top boxes and mobile phones. Users can also share content with anyone, anywhere. Plex does audio, as well, and users can stream their music libraries through a host of compatible devices, like Sonos.

Now Plex is hoping to combat the spread of “fake news” with its acquisition of Watchup, a streaming news service that is home to more than 150 credible news sources.

The whole Plex mantra has been to allow users to easily consume their own content and discover new content while they’re at it. With the Watchup acquisition, Plex users will soon be able to access news bulletins from more than 150 publishers, including CBS, CNN, Vox, Euronews and Hearst Television.

Given the recent controversy surrounding “fake news,” the acquisition could not have come at a better time for users hoping to access reliable news sources quickly and easily. Plex’s reach currently encompasses the vast majority of operating systems and devices on the planet, including Windows, Mac OS, iOS, Android, Xbox, Apple TV, Roku, Chromecast and PlayStation 4, just to name a few.

Why Watchup?

The Watchup app has already been offering users quick access to the latest news bulletins, although its reach is currently limited to Android, Amazon, iOS and Nintendo Wii U. While it hasn’t been confirmed by the Plex team, it’s likely that the functionality will be baked into the Plex media player software at some point in the future.

“People have to navigate a ridiculous number of interfaces and apps to get to their favorite content,” says 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.”

While the Watchup acquisition may seem like a strange move for a company more commonly associated with media server software, Valory believes that it’s an obvious choice.

“The industry has a lot of work to do to deliver on the promise of enjoying content anytime, anywhere, on any device,” Valory adds. “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.”

Unlike Watchup, Plex already has a media streaming pedigree and its app boast 4+ star reviews across all platforms and 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 canceled cable, or never subscribed.

Commenting on the acquisition, Watchup founder and CEO, Adriano Farano, notes: “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. 

“By joining Plex, we are accelerating the pace of this transition in partnership with many of the most trusted news organisations. Together with the unparalleled streaming device footprint of Plex, we can reinvent the video news experience for today’s news viewers.”

The terms of the deal between Plex and Watchup have not been disclosed.

This article originally appeared on CE Pro Europe.