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Plex media server gets its news fix, acquires WatchUp streaming service

Why it matters to you

With this acquisition, Plex adds a news aggregator that will allow users to populate their feed with video from a wide variety of news outlets.

Plex has announced that it has acquired WatchUp, a streaming service that bundles together video content from 200 news channels and offers them to viewers through an app for iOS, Android, Fire TV, and Nintendo Wii.

Having made its name in enabling users to stream their own media, Plex is opening a door to becoming a digital content service that brings in more sources with this acquisition. Terms of the deal weren’t disclosed, so it’s not clear what Plex paid to bring WatchUp into the fold, nor how the integration will work off the bat.

WatchUp is an aggregator that allows users to pick and choose which sources they want to populate their feed and can then stream their content at their leisure. The video comes from national and local news outlets, plus some international ones, but also includes footage or segments posted to websites.

WatchUp hasn’t confirmed how many users it has amassed to date, but Plex claims to have as many as 10 million, and its app is available on a pretty wide range of devices, be it smartphones, tablets, streaming boxes and game consoles. The company has long targeted cord-cutters, or cord-nevers, to bolster its numbers, and looks to have brought in news junkies with this move, too.

“By joining Plex, we are accelerating the pace of this transition in partnership with many of the most trusted news organizations. Together with the unparalleled streaming device footprint of Plex, we can reinvent the video news experience for today’s news viewers,” said Adriano Farano, founder and CEO of WatchUp in a statement.

Plex CEO Keith Valory lauded the deal, saying the industry “has a lot of work to do to deliver on the promise of enjoying content anytime, anywhere, on any device.” The implication is that the company is only getting started in finding new partners to work with in laying out that vision. He didn’t elaborate on which services may be in its sights.

Plex did recently release its DVR service through a deal with SiliconDust’s to stream and record cable and over-the-air (OTA) programming from the latter’s HDHomeRun box. Other devices are reportedly in the works to add to the compatibility list. The company also released its Cloud invite-only beta last fall that allowed for streaming content stored on supported cloud services, except it dropped Amazon Drive in the new year due to functionality problems.

For the moment, the WatchUp apps and website are working as normal, and it doesn’t appear those currently using it will have to do anything just yet.