A new text-to-video app is seeking to change the way people consume news on their mobile devices.
The iOS app, known as Wibbitz, automatically generates short videos based on text-based content found on news websites.
Wibbitz uses natural language processing (NLP) algorithms and machine learning to turn text articles into one to two minute videos that include visuals and a voiceover.
Wibbitz founder Zohar Dayan told Techworld: “Our algorithms know how to analyse and summarise text and how to match it to the most relevant visuals.”
The visuals that get merged together include photos, video clips and infographics.
The founders of the Israeli start-up say the news aggregator is primarily designed for publishers who want to offer quick, digestible video summaries of their content and argue that it goes one step further than Flipboard and Summly.
Dayan said the Wibbitz app can convert text articles into videos in five to 10 seconds.
The free app launched two and a half weeks ago and is currently being downloaded by 25,000 new users every week, according to Dayan.
“We're seeing over 100,000 videos watched each day,” he said. “Since the launch it was featured in the #1 spot in the App Store in over 20 countries.”
But there have been some complaints on iTunes from UK users who claim that the app is biased towards American content.
One reviewer wrote: “I don’t want US news I live in the UK. No way to edit news providers means I’m getting US Red Sox info in the sports section for example.”
Another wrote: “Nice twist on a news app but a bit too US centric.”
Dayan said: “We are aware of the UK feedback and we have added more UK sources since then, though some still find it hard to find the ‘+’ button to add more sources in the menu.”
Dayan said the company plans to launch the app on Android in the next few months. He said smartphones is the company’s main market but revealed that he wants to bring Wibbitz technology to connected TVs and wearable devices in the future.
The Wibbitz platform is also available as a web-based service and the company claims its text-to-video technology has been deployed on 50,000 websites to date.
Founded in 2011, Wibbitz has raised $2.3m (£1.5m) from investors including Li Ka-Shing's Horizons Ventures (which invested in Facebook, Spotify and Waze), Lool Ventures, Initial Capital and Kima Ventures.
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