Watchup founder Adriano Farano wants to change how people consume news—basically, he wants to make sure people are watching it, no matter where they are. In the past year, his company has secured partnerships with major news networks as well as larger news corporations like Tribune Broadcasting and McClatchy. For the start of the new year, Lost Remote asked Farano to share some of his predictions about how viewers will stream news in 2016.
Here’s what he had to say:
In order to predict the future, Ancient Romans had a priest called Auspex look at the flight of birds to see whether or not it was, well, “auspicious.” In 2016, we don’t have anybody scanning the skies for drones but we do love tech predictions. As the founder of Watchup, a startup streaming service designed for news watching, here’s where I think the video news industry is headed.
1. Over-the-Top Consumption Through the Roof
In the past few years, video news has rapidly changed from the set scheduled broadcast of traditional TV to the digital report format available at the touch of a button. In 2014 alone, online TV video consumption grew by 388 percent year-to-year. According to the Pew Research Center, 63 percent of U.S. adults watch digital video and more than one third of U.S. adults watch online video news. Based on these findings, I think that in 2016 we’ll be seeing almost three-quarters of all U.S. adults watching digital video and half watching digital video news. As the public becomes more aware of the variety of offerings for digital video news, apps such as Watchup will rapidly emerge as a more convenient and desirable platform to consume and enjoy video news.
2. Machine Learning Replacing Human Curation
Machine Learning is a new and exciting opportunity to leverage the processing power and organizational abilities of machines to increase efficiency. At our Stanford-incubated startup, we use it in our automatic curation process, which is fully executed by our algorithm and guided by our product team. Thanks to decreased computer processing costs, Machine Learning is quickly replacing humans in doing the most time-consuming tasks. Machine Learning was once only used by tech giants such as Google or Facebook, but in this coming year we can expect that many more video publishers will use it to personalize their content experiences.
3. The Election Will Be Streamed
The U.S. presidential race will reflect the changing video news landscape, which means video content will be available to stream like never before, with seamless simplicity. Every Republican and Democratic debate in 2015 was available to stream live online and through the respective TV broadcasters’ apps. Live streaming of the debates has greatly helped increase viewership. In 2012, the highest watched GOP debate drew in 7.63 million viewers whereas this year the first GOP debate, co-hosted by Fox News and Facebook, drew in 24 million viewers. That’s about three times as many viewers! Moreover, clips of the debates were readily available online and on OTT apps like Watchup just a few minutes after any particular exchange had occurred. As the presidential race heats up, the public debate around the election will definitely happen in the digital world.
4. The Transformation of Local News
In 2015, Watchup became the first OTT offering to launch more than 100 local news channels in one on-demand app. Instead of the traditional newscast experience, users can, for the first time, select their favorite locations and enjoy news clips in their own personalized newscast. Local news is still important to viewers and yet it is the last frontier in the digital video revolution. In recent years, news stations have seen a dip in ratings for their local evening news. Perhaps this is due to changing work schedules or other factors affecting viewership, but apps such as Watchup allows local news to be even more accessible to viewers. In addition to this new, revolutionary experience, I predict that 2016 will see some of the most innovative local broadcasters produce new-digital native formats with a refreshed tone that specifically caters to a younger audience.
Accustomed to the simplicity of products such as Spotify, Pandora and Uber, millennial viewers are the first on-demand generation. To them, live TV news doesn’t present the level of density they’ve come to expect. According to Comscore, nearly one-quarter of U.S. adults ages 18 to 24 don’t subscribe to pay-TV and almost half of them have never subscribed to pay-TV services. Traditional television is not as valuable to them as it is to older generations. The youngest generations prefer new, on-demand consumption over traditional television, so we can expect the majority of them to be “cord-nevers” as well. As cord-cutters and cord-nevers increase, personalized on-demand newscasts will replace traditional TV news consumption.