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CBS Local Stations Close to Mobile Offering

20 Feb, 2013 By: Doug McPherson

CHATHAM, N.J. – A report from says WCBS in New York and KCBS in Los Angeles have been testing mobile video streaming of their signal to about 100 consumers in each city so that they can watch CBS without an antenna or any other device. Plus, Nielsen is monitoring the platform to assure it can track viewership, which would help monetize the system.

If all goes well, Newscheck reports CBS might go live with the system this spring.

But there is a legal issue: stations are contractually allowed to air programs only within their own markets. That prohibition exists because of syndication rights of reruns and daytime talk shows. For example, a Detroit station that paid million for the rights to “Dr. Phil” reruns doesn’t want its viewers watching that show on mobile phones based in Chicago.

The technology involves a phone’s GPS capability to keep track of where the mobile viewer is. Reportedly, though, when viewers venture outside the station’s assigned area, usually a radius of about 50 miles or so around the center city, they lose the signal. TVNewscheck says the technology is already being used experimentally by 50 stations in 30 markets, and another 125 stations in 63 markets will soon join in.

MediaPost reports that no network has yet granted rights to its affiliates to stream programming on the Internet or mobile networks.

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