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CBS invests in TV-streaming tech provider Syncbak

The privately held company makes location-based authentication technology that allows local television stations to stream content to in-market customers.

Syncbak makes technology to stream TV on mobile devices.
CBS has made an investment in Syncbak, the company said today, giving it a minority stake in the television-streaming technology provider as it continues its focus on mobile.

Syncbak, a privately held company founded in 2009, makes location-based authentication technology that allows local television stations to stream their signals to in-market customers. Essentially, Syncbak "localizes the Internet" for broadcasters, networks, and TV studios, allowing retransmission of live television over the Web in much the same way it works over cable and satellite. The company's app is available for iOS and Android smartphones and tablets, but it doesn't currently work in all regions.

CBS (which owns CNET) said it plans to work closely with its owned and affiliated television stations, as well as advertisers, rights holders, cable, satellite, and telecom partners in the coming months and years as Syncbak becomes fully activated and deployed. At the same time, Syncbak will continue to offer its platform to other broadcast networks and their station groups, CBS said.

"We have admired and worked with Syncbak's CEO Jack Perry since the mid-'90s," said Martin D. Franks, CBS executive vice president of planning, policy, and government affairs. "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. We look forward to collaborating with him as we move the initiative forward."

Broadcasters and content providers face big challenges as the world goes more mobile. Consumers want to access programming anytime, anywhere, but such shifts disrupt the traditional advertising model. Companies like CBS have been trying to figure out how to give consumers what they want without hurting their own businesses. Many offer their own apps, as well as partner with companies like Hulu, but few offer live TV streaming.

Syncbak's technology is currently being tested by more than 100 television stations in 70 markets across 31 broadcast groups representing all major networks, including CBS, ABC, Fox, NBC, and the CW. The National Association of Broadcasters and the Consumer Electronics Association are additional strategic investors in the company.

CBS didn't disclose how much it invested in Syncbak. We've contacted both companies for further information.