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Aereo CEO: ‘The Technology We’ve Built is Tremendously Valuable to a lot of People’

With five days to go until the Supreme Court takes up the Aereo case, CEO Chet Kanojia sat down for a wide-ranging interview with Yahoo’s Katie Couric.

“It would be a tragic outcome for a company that had the courage to step up,” Kanojia said about the potential of a Supreme Court loss. “But it is what it is. I think we’ll figure out something or if not, if there’s no viable business, then we’ll probably go out of business. I do know that the technology we’ve built is tremendously valuable to a lot of people.” Watch:

Kanojia also talked about Aereo’s target audience: “People who are consuming a lot of content online, renting movies and Netflix and things like that — what they miss is access to broadcast TV, which happens to be morning television, which happens to be news, which happens to be big reality show events, watercooler type things. And for that, they’re tied to the bundle. Which is the big fight in the Aereo debate.” Watch after the jump. Read more

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Broadcasters Developing Contingency Plans in Case of an Aereo Supreme Court Victory

aereoAlthough Aereo CEO Chet Kanojia has said there is no plan B for the streaming television service in the event of a Supreme Court loss, the Wall Street Journal reports the broadcasters are working on backup plans of their own:

The most radical of the contingency plans is the recent suggestion from CBS Corp. Chief Executive Leslie Moonves that the company could offer its own Internet service if Aereo wins. Mr. Moonves hasn’t provided details, but a person familiar with the situation said CBS has the ability to launch a service that would stream its programming over the Web simultaneously with its television broadcasts.

CBS would charge a few dollars a month and show ads, the person said. Such a service would also likely offer on-demand programming. It could include Showtime, the CBS-owned premium cable channel, which would increase the subscription fee, the person said. CBS would use technology company Syncbak, in which it owns a minority stake, to power streaming of local TV stations’ signals over the Web, the person said.

Aereo will be the topic of a panel discussion at the TVNewser Show two weeks from today. BIA/Kelsey SVP Mark Fratrik, Internet attorney Tim Bukher and U.S. Law Week’s Tom Taylor will join us to debate the streaming service and break down the legal arguments for both sides. For tickets and more information, click here.

Aereo: Consequences of Supreme Court Loss Are ‘Chilling’

aereoAereo has filed its last written argument before the Supreme Court hears the case next month. In a statement, CEO Chet Kanojia said if the broadcasters win, “the consequences to American consumers and the cloud industry are chilling.”

Since the beginning of television, consumers have had a fundamental right to watch over-the-air broadcast television using an individual antenna, and they have had the right to record copies for their personal use since the U.S. Supreme Court Sony Betamax decision in 1984. These are rights that should be protected and preserved as they have been for generations.

We look forward to presenting our case to the Supreme Court on April 22 and we have every hope and confidence that the Court will continue validate and preserve a consumer’s right to use lawful technology innovations like Aereo.

Read the full brief at The Hollywood Reporter.

We’ll be talking about Aereo — among many other topics — at Mediabistro’s TVNewser Show, April 29 in New York City. Click here for more information and to register.

Aereo CEO: No Plan B in the Event of Supreme Court Loss

As Aereo awaits its day in the Supreme Court over the legality of its streaming television service, CEO Chet Kanojia told Bloomberg TV’s Jon Erlichman there is no backup plan if the Court rules in favor of the broadcasters.

“There is no plan,” Kanojia said. “We believe in our merit and we do think it’s the right thing. Progress is important. The mission of this company was to try to create an open platform, to try to wedge the system open a little bit. And if we don’t succeed in that, despite our best efforts and good law on our side and merits of our case, it would be a tragedy, but it is what it is.” Watch:

A week after the Supreme Court arguments, at the TVNewser Show, we’ll be discussing the future of Aereo. Among our panelists is Tom Taylor, the Assistant Managing Editor of Bloomberg BNA’s United States Law Week, who will be monitoring the  arguments.

Click here for more information and to register.

What Will the Supreme Court Decide in the Aereo Case?

aereoOne month from today, Aereo and the broadcast networks will present their arguments in front of the U.S. Supreme Court. The Obama administration is siding with the broadcasters; Aereo’s CEO says the company is “confident in the merits of our position.” Despite an injunction in Utah, Aereo has continued to expand: the service is now available in Austin, Cincinnati and more than 20 other regions.

So what will the fate of the streaming television service be?

We’ll be talking about all this next month at the TVNewser Show, April 29 in New York City. Among the guests is Tom Taylor, the Assistant Managing Editor of Bloomberg BNA’s United States Law Week, who will break down the legal arguments for us as part of the Aereo panel discussion.

Click here for more information and to register.

Solicitor General Asks to Argue Aereo Case

aereoThe U.S. Solicitor General has asked the Supreme Court to argue the Aereo case in favor of the broadcast networks, The Wrap reports:

U.S. Solicitor General Donald B. Verrilli Jr., who previously filed a friend of the court brief siding with broadcasters, is now asking to be allowed to argue his view endorsing TV networks stance during high court oral arguments in the case April 22.

The court has yet to make a decision about the request. Cory Andrews, an attorney for the Washington Legal Foundation, which has filed its own friend of the court brief in the case, told TheWrap the move was not that unusual. He said in about 50 percent of cases where the government files friend of the court briefs, it gets time to argue its view. Sometimes the government asks for the time. Other times the court asks the government to act.

Speaking of Aereo, the streaming television service will be the topic of a panel discussion at Mediabistro’s TVNewser Show next month. Register before March 20 to save on ticket prices!

Moonves Says CBS Could Go All-Internet If Aereo Wins

les moonvesWith the Supreme Court set to hear arguments in the Aereo vs. American Broadcasters case next month, top executives are weighing in on how broadcast networks could transform if the Court rules in favor of Aereo, CNET reports:

CBS Chief Executive Leslie Moonves said Tuesday that his company’s namesake broadcast network could go “over the top,” or be delivered via the Internet, if Aereo’s model of streaming over-the-air programming is ruled legal.

His comments come as the prospect of a digital pay-TV service appears closer than ever — and yet still far away. It also ratchets up the rhetoric of executives like Moonves, who have said before that moving programming off the airwaves and onto a subscription services is an options should Aereo win.

Aereo CEO: ‘We Are Confident in the Merits of Our Position’

aereoWith less than two months to go before the Supreme Court hears oral arguments in the Aereo case, CEO and founder Chet Kanojia talks to TIME’s Sam Gustin. Among other things, Kanojia addresses the broadcasters’ threat that they will pull over-the-air signals and move their most popular programs to cable if Aereo prevails:

I don’t believe that to be a serious threat, just from a business perspective. According to the NAB [National Association of Broadcasters], there are nearly 60 million people who are using over-the-air access. So the networks would have to make a business decision that they are willing to cut off 60 million people.

[...] Most importantly, they would essentially be killing local broadcasting because local broadcasting depends on network television to bring it an audience. So from a business imperative, a business rationale, and their mandate to program in the public interest, they would be running afoul of all of these things, so I don’t find that argument persuasive at all.

It would be inappropriate for me to forecast anything or presume anything, but we think the logic that we have laid out is very compelling, sound logic. We are confident in the merits of our position and we are eager to find out what the Supreme Court thinks.

Aereo Given 14 Day Reprieve from Six State Injunction

aereo_304Broadcasters celebrating last week’s six state injunction against Aereo now have two more weeks to wait before it goes into effect.

Variety reports, A federal judge is giving the broadcast streaming service a fourteen day stay on the decision that it cease operations in Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Wyoming and Montana. Aereo is currently available in Denver, CO, and Salt Lake City, UT.

Last week U.S. District Judge Dale Kimball ruled in favor of broadcasters in their complaint that Aereo’s unauthorized streaming of their signals violates the Copyright Act. Kimball issued an injunction that applied throughout the 10th Circuit, which covers Utah, Colorado and four other western states.

He wrote that there was “some benefit” to allowing Aereo’s customers to have uninterrupted service for the next two weeks. The company is seeking an emergency stay in the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Nevertheless, Kimball rejected Aereo’s request that he put an indefinite stay on his ruling as the Supreme Court weighs the legality of its business. He said that Aereo took a “calculated risk” when it launched in Salt Lake City and Utah last year, and that it “will not go out of business.” He also said that Aereo could stay in operation by “paying proper licensing fees and operating with a smaller profit margin as a solution to allaying its customers’ harm during the pendency of the appeal.”

Aereo Announces Austin Launch Date

aereoLess than a week after a federal judge granted broadcasters a preliminary injunction against Aereo, the streaming television service has announced plans to expand to the Austin DMA.

Austin is the fourth city in Texas — after Dallas, Houston and San Antonio — where Aereo will be available. The Austin launch, scheduled for March 3, adds 12 new counties to Aereo’s coverage.

“Aereo makes using an antenna easy again – the way it should be.  We’re looking forward to kicking off in Austin,” CEO and founder Chet Kanojia said in a statement.

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