Nielsen Readies Mobile TV Tracking With Syncbak, CBS

Earlier this year, CBS local TV stations in New York and Los Angeles began testing mobile video streaming in their respective markets using a system from a company called Syncbak. On Tuesday, Nielsen announced completion of a two-week technical trial with Syncbak, and CBS affirming that broadcasters can track viewership through the system.

Based on a test of tablet and mobile measurement conducted with four CBS owned television stations in New York and Los Angeles -- WCBS, WLNY, KCBS and KCAL -- Nielsen said it had successfully captured all mobile viewing in the two markets.

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The test could be a step toward monetizing the system, which Syncbak says will let users watch live, in-market broadcast TV via smartphone and tablet apps on iOS and Android devices when fully activated and deployed. The technology effectively “localizes” the mobile Web by limiting viewership to a station’s designated area -- usually about 50 miles around the center city.

Unlike competing local mobile TV services such as Dyle -- operated by a consortium of broadcasters known as Mobile Content Venture -- the system also doesn’t require use of an antenna or other dongle to pick up a signal.

“As the industry looks to deliver live in-market television to mobile devices, it is imperative that all parties involved, ranging from broadcasters to station owners to content creators, know that Nielsen can accurately count the viewing,” stated Syncbak CEO Jack Perry. “This trial allows us to move forward in pairing local viewers with local content in a way that helps all of our various industry partners.”

David Poltrack, chief research officer at CBS, which is a strategic investor in Syncbak, added that the test results assured the network it can get measurable credit for mobile viewing “in a way that is monetizable.”

With the addition of Gray Television last month, Syncbak announced the number of stations using its platform had risen to almost 200 in some 100 markets, spanning all the major networks. While the company’s iOS and Android apps already offer programming, TV stations are still mainly involved on an experimental basis. CBS didn’t indicate in today’s announcement when it might go live with the Syncbak system.

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