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Turning words into videos; the digital magic of Wibbitz

World News Publishing Focus

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Turning words into videos; the digital magic of Wibbitz

Emerging out of Israel’s Silicon Wadi in Tel-Aviv, Wibbitz can take any news story and fashion it into a short video that incorporates audio, text, images and video. The app counts Le Monde, The Times of Israel, Mirror, Dallas News and Mundo Deportivo among its list of publishers.

Co-founder of Wibbitz, Yotam Cohen, attributes the app's popularity to the fact that the videos are kept short – no more than 45 seconds. “People don’t have a lot of time and they want it [the news] fast,” he told the World Editors Forum.

Other than the speed with which information can be imparted, the best thing about Wibbitz, according to Cohen, is the app's flexibility. “One of the amazing things about the algorithm is that it treats different articles and different chapters differently,” he said.

“If we were to take a sport article and an entertainment guide, our algorithm will know how to deal with them differently,” he said.

For James Oppenheim – the business developer for The Times of Israel, one of Wibbitz’ first clients – the value of the app is simple; Wibbitz works quickly and clearly, creating tens of thousands of videos a day. “It was able to give us a solution to a real problem that we had; having great content on the site but not great video,” he told the World Editors Forum.

Great video is a boon for time conscious consumers and also for social media users. Since it began using Wibbitz, The Times of Israel has enjoyed an increasing rate of engagement and shares.

“There’s something terrific inside a video that connects with the social world, that’s a little different to text,” Oppenheim said.

Zohar Dayan, the other half of the brains behind Wibbitz, wants to continue to develop the social nature of the app. Experimenting with short 15 second videos, which are posted daily on Instagram, is to Dayan, “another example of how the habits of content consumption are changing.”

"The way people are consuming news is different today, whether it's the devices that the content is consumed on, the state of mind that the user is in, as well as the fast-paced world we live in these days. As a result, we think the way content is being created and packaged needs to change as well," he said.

Currently available in English and Spanish for iOS systems, or as a Chrome or Firefox extension, Wibbitz is developing the app for Android systems and expanding it for French speakers. 


Lucy Dean


2014-08-04 15:35

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The World Editors Forum is the organisation within the World Association of Newspapers devoted to newspaper editors worldwide. The Editors Weblog (, launched in January 2004, is a WEF initiative designed to facilitate the diffusion of information relevant to newspapers and their editors.

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