Broadcasters band together for new local TV streaming service

A group of local television broadcasters are teaming up with OTT tech company Syncbak to launch VUit (pronounced “view it”), a free, ad-supported national streaming service.

VUit’s initial launch partners include more than 200 television stations owned by Gray Television, Meredith Corporation, Cowles Media Company, Heritage Broadcasting Group and Morgan Murphy Media, which will all offer livestreams. Each participating station will also produce and stream at least 12 live events (sports, concerts, news specials, etc.) a year exclusively for VUit.

VUit will also include curated channels, such as a political channel Politics Uncut, built using Syncbak’s autobuild technology and programmed and populated with content from across all the participating stations.

VUit is now available on streaming platforms and devices including iOS, Android devices, Roku, Amazon Fire TV and Apple TV.

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VUit will be supported through those broadcasters’ local ad sales teams and participating stations will be able to promote each other’s “VUit Originals” and sell against them locally using Syncbak’s live dynamic ad insertion technology, adSync.

The new streaming service is being run by Syncbak CEO Jack Perry.

“With VUit, we are turning the traditional network concept on its head.  Broadcast networks are built top down with the national feed as the core lens to the world. Meanwhile, VUit is grassroots up, enabling viewers to see what is happening in every community – and everyone has connections to other towns and cities,” said Perry in a statement. “And from a business standpoint, the platform provides local television media from across the nation the best opportunity to thrive in the streaming space, unlocking the limitless potential for local stations to grow their audiences both locally and nationally and capture significant digital advertising revenue.”

In addition to participating, Gray Television has invested in VUit to help Syncbak expand distribution and adoption of VUit.

VUit is related to Syncbak’s proof-of-concept local news OTT platform, SBTV. The company said that during the pandemic, SBTV has seen a significant increase in people tuning into its live streams of local stations across the country.

Last year, Syncbak launched an over-the-top syndication marketplace, MarketSync, for television broadcasters. The MarketSync app—which is designed to help broadcasters syndicate, deliver and monetize original content—is part of Syncbak’s existing SBTV platform. The marketplace allowed SBTV users to license content to fill out their OTT channel programming lineups.