CBS Invests in Syncbak

Aereo competitor presents TV Everywhere opportunity for broadcasters

CBS has made an investment in TV streaming firm Syncbak, according to The Wall Street Journal. The network, the Journal speculates, could use Syncbak technology to power a TV Everywhere service, following in the footsteps of Time Warner and Univision. It could also work as a direct, "over the top" service like Aereo, Hulu and Netflix.

Syncbak—which allows local TV stations to stream live programming over the Internet—is backed by the National Association of Broadcasters, the Consumer Electronics Association and three former NBC execs. The technology, currently being tested by more than 100 TV stations in 70 markets, delivers broadcast TV signals to tablets and smartphones. The service also offers a usage-based DVR-in-the-cloud feature.

The investment appears to be a strategic response to the broadcast industry's escalating legal battle with Aereo. Syncbak's platform is similar to Aereo's but will only be available to pay-TV subscribers and will allow stations to track metrics for advertising purposes.

Broadcasters including CBS, NBCUniversal, Fox, Tribune, PBS, Univision and WNET have sued TV-streaming start-up Aereo for copyright infringement. The courts have repeatedly sided with Aereo, and broadcast companies are trying to adapt to prevent further disruption to their revenue streams.

“Across the country, broadcasters are looking for the best way to respond to consumer demand for streaming their content,” said Syncbak CEO Jack Perry in a statement. “Syncbak’s technology provides the right solution at the right time to make that happen."

CBS did not disclose the amount of its investment.