While video lovers have gotten more and more social services that serve up interesting clips from friends, it’s still not easy to construct a more comprehensive look at video news by topic. That’s the gap that New York state startup Newslook is trying to fill with a new iPad app that allows users to construct channels of their favorite news subjects on the fly.
Newslook, which has been operating a video streaming news website and a video syndication service for publications, is now getting even more into the consumer video space with its first iPad app. The app, which will debut at the paidContent 2012 conference Wednesday, allows users to build their own channel using video from more than 50 sources including the AP, Reuters, Bloomberg, National Geographic and others.
It’s different from social video services like Showyou, Shelby.tv and SocialCam, which serve up video based on a user’s social network. And it’s not like YouTube, which is a mix of all kinds of user generated and professional content that is often not well organized. Newslook takes in hundreds of videos each day from its sources and applies a bunch of metadata to a smaller number of clips, putting them into various taxonomies that can be searched. Users who look for Barack Obama or The Hunger Games can pull up a stream of professional videos that are tied to the topic and can create an instant channel based on that topic.
“There’s a lot of content out there,” said Newslook founder, Fred Silverman, a former CBS producer. “We sift through the crap so you don’t have to.”
Newslook adds more than 150 new videos a day that have been hand selected and tagged with metadata. In addition to search, there’s also tabs for finding top videos and clips that are trending and featured. Users who view one video can also see a list of relevant metadata terms to construct a similar channel. And they can share their videos on Facebook, with Twitter and Pinterest support coming later.
The company has been working on its core services for the last two years and has lined up a number up of companies including Gannett and LexisNexis who use its video syndication service. Silverman said he hopes to have 200 sources for video by the end of this year. The goal is to avoid user generated content and stick to professional content that appeals to serious video lovers.
I think there’s a market for a more organized video news platform that puts users back into the drivers seat. But I think Newslook also needs to get more video sources to feed its service. For hard news subjects, it’s pretty good at serving up timely and relevant stuff. But for lighter fare, there’s room for more depth. Newslook is probably not the only video app people need on their iPad but it’s a good addition to have and should only get better over time.