CBS Invests In Streaming Provider Syncbak

The company's authentication technology allows television stations to stream content to customers' mobile devices, only while in the market.

CBS Corp. has made a strategic minority investment in Syncbak, an app that streams programming of stations while restricting reception to mobile devices within the stations’ markets.

“As far the affiliates board is concerned, we’re happy that (CBS) is taking steps to work with Syncbak,” said Chris Cornelius, chairman of the CBS affiliates board, adding there are still several issues to work out.

“We still have rights issues with programmers, measurement issues with Nielsen… We’ve got to get those things worked out, but I think this is a big step in the right direction.”

TVNewsCheck broke the news about CBS’s plans with Syncbak in February when Robert Seidel, the network’s vice president of engineering and advanced technology, said: “Syncbak gives us mobile TV without having to plug in an antenna or adapter.” Since the beginning of the year, CBS has been using Syncbak to stream the signals of its duopolies in New York (WCBS and WLNY) and Los Angeles (KCBS and KCAL).

Martin Franks, EVP planning, policy and government affairs for CBS, said the network has worked with Syncbak CEO Jack Perry since the mid-1990s. “As an executive, he’s as knowledgeable about emerging technologies as he is about broadcasting. Over the last couple years, we have worked with Jack as he developed Syncbak’s very elegant technology platform, which presents several interesting opportunities for broadcast networks, their stations and affiliates.”

It’s unclear how much CBS invested in the venture.

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Perry, who was unable to be reached for comment, said, in a statement, that his technology is a response to consumer demand. “Syncbak’s technology provides the right solution at the right time to make that happen. I am particularly pleased that CBS has recognized the role that Syncbak can play as the broadcast model continues to evolve.”

Running parallel with Syncbak is mobile DTV — a service that uses a portion of each station’s spectrum to broadcast programming to specially equipped mobile devices. CBS, until recently, hasn’t been active in the industry’s push of the service.

At the NAB Show two weeks ago, WCBS New York, in addition to eight other CBS stations across the country, signed on with Dyle, one of the consortiums aiming to make mobile DTV a success.


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