Following Watchup acquisition, Plex launches ad-supported news section

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Streaming media app Plex today launched Plex News, a new feature which serves you video news from “some of the most trusted sources on the planet.” The new section, which is free for everyone since it is ad-supported, will roll out to all of Plex’s 10 million users over the next 48 hours, starting with Plex Pass subscribers.

In January, Plex acquired streaming news app Watchup. At the time, the company promised the news feature would be integrated into the main Plex app in Q2 2017. Plex is a quarter late, given we are in late September, but it’s now ready to deliver news amongst other your other media.

Plex News does not require setting up a Plex Media Server. All you have to do is sign up for a free Plex account, download the app, and customize your news feed. Plex News is supported on Amazon Fire TV, Android TV (including the Nvidia Shield), Apple TV, Roku, Android, and iOS.

The feature uses AI to learn what you like and gets smarter the more you watch. Plex has partnered with over 190 global publisher partners, including international sources, like CNN, CBS, Financial Times, and Euronews, and local news sources for over 80 percent of markets in the U.S. New sources will be added on a rolling basis.

Here is the company’s explanation for why it is offering a news feature:

There’s so much amazing media available today that you’d be forgiven for taking in an entire season of Game of Thrones or the whole Marvel cinematic universe (once you figure out the order) without coming up for air. But it turns out some pretty crazy stuff is happening every day in the real universe, too, and we think it’s more important than ever to provide balanced news coverage from a variety of trusted and reliable sources.

Plex News is part of the company’s bigger strategy to integrate external media into your existing library of content — Plex added Live TV for paying members in June. The goal is to woo new users who don’t have a large library of their own media and of course improve the experience for existing users.

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