300 stations sign up for NAB-backed startup
Backed by Gray Television, Morgan Murphy Media and the National Association of Broadcasters, OTT video company Syncbak is launching Zeam, a new free streaming platform for local stations.
Syncbak and Gray launched VUit, another local streaming platform in 2020. VUit will be shut down in favor of Zeam.
Zeam will offer live and on-demand news, sports and culture programming from 300 local TV stations covering 80% of the U.S. owned by groups including Gray, CBS Stations, News-Press & Gazette, Hearst Television and Morgan Murphy.
The launch will be backed by an eight-figure marketing campaign and a commercial featuring actor John Stamos.
Zeam will air the commercial on about 100 stations during Super Bowl LVIII, which means the ad revenue will go to stations rather than CBS, which is broadcasting the game nationally.
“As viewers and the industry continue to migrate to streaming, local television stations need to find a way to build a sustainable business that helps them not just survive but thrive in the streaming age,” Syncbak CEO and founder Jack Perry said. “That’s why we are launching Zeam, which not only serves as a master connector between stations, advertisers and viewers, but will also redefine what a successful model for local OTT looks like by breaking down the biggest obstacles local stations face in streaming — cost and complexity.”
Sinclair recently sold Stirr, its local-station streaming platform.
Zeam is designed to help local stations by distributing their content nationally and generate new revenues by using Syncbak’s advertising technology to sell ads to national and local advertisers.
Syncbak estimates that Zeam will have 5 billion advertising units to sell, giving it one of the largest ad inventories and first-party data pools in streaming.
Also being launched is Zeam360, a Zeam-branded van that serves as a mobile production studio and provides a 24/7 livestream mobile channel.
Zeam360 will go on a barnstorming tour, stopping at nearly 30 local broadcast stations en route to the Super Bowl in Las Vegas. Zeam has also established a new studio in New York’s Times Square. In addition to hosting independent content creators, the studio will serve as a billboard to promote local TV to the crowds who pass through Times Square daily.
According to Syncbak, VUit was profitable and served as a proof-of-concept for a local streaming platform. The average VUit viewer tuned in 29 times a month to watch programming from several markets. Some stations generated more than 100,000 a month in streaming revenues through VUit.
“Under Jack Perry’s leadership, Syncbak has a long-established reputation for being the champion of local content that the industry needs and deserves,” Gray TV co-CEO and president Pat LaPlatney said. “With the launch of Zeam, we are taking this to a whole new level, providing a platform that will benefit not just local station groups and advertisers, but also viewers themselves.”
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