On Monday, Fox and Univision both threatened to take their programming off the broadcast airwaves and convert to cable channels if Aereo continues to have legal success, The New York Times‘ Brian Stelter reports:
While viewed largely as saber-rattling, the idea that the networks could be converted into cable channels gained attention in the television world because such a move would have wide-reaching implications for viewers and station owners.
The possibility had not been publicly broached by a major broadcaster until Chase Carey, the chief operating officer of Fox’s parent, News Corporation, spoke at a conference of broadcasters on Monday morning.
Later in the day, Haim Saban, the chairman of Univision, lined up with Fox, calling Aereo a pirate and saying, “To serve our community, we need to protect our product and revenue streams and therefore we, too, are considering all of our options — including converting to pay TV.”
On top of [programming from major networks], Aereo also allows for pausing live TV or recording shows and saving them for later — features once exclusive to subscribers of cable or satellite services. The company eventually envisions allowing consumers to pay for only what they watch, similar to ordering food items off an a la carte menu.
“All we are doing is giving consumers an alternative to what is now an utterly irrational system where people have to pay too much for so many channels,” Aereo chief executive Chet Kanojia said in an interview Monday at The Washington Post.
[...] “We were prepared for the controversy. We are disruptive and know this is far from the end” of the battle, he said.