Sinclair Broadcasting Group, the largest broadcaster in the US, reportedly has plans to branch out to the streaming-TV business.
Sinclair plans to launch a free TV-streaming app this year called STIRR, BuzzFeed reported Tuesday. The app will feature 24-hour local and national programming, as well as a variety of live and on-demand programming, the news outlet reported, citing sources familiar with the project and a trademark application.
With the effort, Sinclair would become the latest company aiming to grab consumers who are opting out of traditional pay-TV subscriptions. Over the last three years, cord cutters and everyone else have been flooded with options to unlock “real” TV online. But rather than competing with streaming-TV services such as those offered by YouTube and Hulu, Sinclair’s offering would be positioned to compete with Fox News, BuzzFeed reported.
The revelation comes as Sinclair, which owns or operates 193 television stations, battles for approval of a $3.9 billion takeover of rival broadcaster Tribune Media. The Federal Communications Commission is still reviewing Sinclair’s merger with Tribune, which critics say will make the media company too powerful.
Sinclair already owns nearly 200 television stations in the US including several Fox, ABC, CBS and NBC affiliates. If it buys Tribune Media it will control local stations reaching nearly three-quarters of US households.
The broadcasting giant became news itself earlier this year after a video mash-up of its news anchors went viral. It showed dozens of Sinclair anchors across the country simultaneously reading the scripted segment warning viewers of “fake news” and media bias that poses an “extremely dangerous” threat to democracy, which Democrats on Capitol Hill and former employees have criticized. Sinclair executives said the promos showed no bias and are part of a well-researched journalistic initiative.
Sinclair didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
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