CBS said Monday it had made a strategic investment in mobile content distributor Syncbak.
CBS did not say how much the investment was, but a source speaking on background described it as a double-digit percentage minority stake.
That is the company that some broadcasters are using to get
their content to mobile consumers on tablets and cellphones.
While broadcasters are making a push for mobile DTV, many
are hedging their bets with Syncbak's
Internet-based delivery system.
"We have admired and worked with Syncbak's CEO Jack Perry
since the mid-'90s," said Martin D. Franks, executive VP, planning, policy and
government affairs, CBS Corp. "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."
CBS said Syncbak is now being tested on more than 100 TV
stations in 70 markets. The National Association of Broadcasters is also an
investor in the technology.
CBS' move comes as Aereo continues to press
its case for an Internet-based TV station content delivery system broadcasters
say is illegal and threatens their business model. Syncbak requires authentication that a user is a cable subscriber, which means broadcasters have been compensated for the transmission. Aereo says it is just providing remote (internet) access to a subs free, over-the-air signal, and so does not pay broadcasters.