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Posts Tagged ‘Aereo’

Why Broadcasters Might Want to Reframe How They Look at Aereo

aereoIn a recent article, Time writes that Aereo’s spectacular failure actually exposed the broadcasting industry’s vulnerability: retransmission fees.

According to Time, which should know a thing or two about being disrupted, the winning side should buy up what Aereo was selling: inexpensively delivering content to consumers where they want, when they want it. Because, as the article warns, the day will soon come when consumers will stop paying high subscription fees to watch channels they don’t want.

What I have trouble moving past is that Aereo wasn’t really charging for content, as everything you could watch on the service was free anyway. It was charging for convenience — You could watch Aereo on a laptop or iPhone, and it gave customers access to a cloud-based DVR to store their favorite shows. It also made up for the fact that, here in building-packed New York City at least, the free, over-the-air broadcasts are often difficult to watch with a regular TV aerial. Most of the people I know who used Aereo here did so because they couldn’t get reliable signals from the broadcasters. In this sense, Aereo addressed a technical failure, too. With those factors combined, Aereo was certainly worth eight bucks a month.

The broadcast networks used the courts to pummel Aereo into submission, suing a potential industry disruptor out of existence. But instead of walking away smiling, those broadcasters should realize Aereo only foreshadowed a massive industry shakeup that will change everything about television. As more people cut the cord and switch to on-demand services like Netflix and HBO Go (with the latter soon to be available without a cable subscription), cable television will slowly die out — and take those lucrative retransmission fees with them as it goes. CBS, at least, sees the writing on the door: It’s launching an innovative subscription-based online service, from which it’ll likely make money off ads, too. More broadcasters should realize that cable TV is the past, not the future. And what better, bolder move to make than buying Aereo?

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Is This the End of Aereo?

aereo_304The internet streaming service that came close to disrupting broadcasting and cable TV as we know it, now says it is laying off most of its staff.

Aereo spokesperson Virginia Lam told BostInno.com in an email, “In an effort to reduce costs, we made the difficult decision to lay off some of our staff in Boston and New York. We are continuing to conserve resources while we chart our path forward. We are grateful to our employees for their loyalty, hard work and dedication. This was a difficult, but necessary step in order to preserve the company.”

The TV-on-the-Web startup plans to cut the 43 Boston jobs and close down as of Nov. 12, according to the letter. Laid-off employees will receive “a modest severance,” CEO Chet Kanojia said in the letter to employees.

The shutdown comes after Aereo’s loss to broadcasters in the Supreme Court in June and repeated, but failed, attempts to relaunch its online streaming TV service in the following months. Its service has been off the air since shortly after the Supreme Court ruling, meaning Aereo hasn’t had a revenue stream for months.

In a June, the US Supreme Court ruled against the internet streaming service, siding with broadcasters who thought the service violated copyright laws.

Aereo’s Loss May Be Antenna Supplier’s Gain

aereo_304A Missouri based antenna supplier is looking to take advantage of Aereo’s recent misfortune.

Antennas Direct said it’s giving away 1000 free antennas to Aereo subscribers “as a solution to their signal loss.”

To receive a free antenna, customers must upload their last Aereo billing statement and pay $10 for shipping. They will receive the Antennas Direct ClearStream 2 Complete antenna (50+ mile range), 30 feet of coaxial cable and 20” J-Mount (MSRP $129.99).

“The Aereo Supreme Court case helps illustrate what we have said all along: local digital TV is free, offers more local channels and has a better picture quality than pay TV,” said Richard Schneider, president of Antennas Direct. “All that’s required is a simple, easy to connect antenna.”

The company said the offer is good through this Sunday July 6 or while supplies last.

[The Hill]

Aereo Explains How it Works

Controversial streaming TV company Aereo has put together a snappy little video to explain how it works.

This video allows us all to step back and remember what all the fuss was about in case you got lost in the ins and outs of its legality and skipped the beginning of the story.

“Aereo’s technology is changing the way we access television,” the company says on the youtube page. “We reinvented TV antennas, made them smart, incredibly small, and remotely located.”

Aereo CEO and Cablevision Say Aereo Fight May Undermine Cloud Computing

aereo_304In a statement that read like a classic boxing combination, Aereo CEO Chet Kanojia today started with the left jab that said his company is prepared to let the Supreme Court decide its legality.

That statement set up the big right cross where he agreed with Cablevision’s assertion that the broadcasters suing him are looking to do more than just stop the Barry Diller backed internet streaming service.

Yesterday Cablevision issued a whitepaper saying, while it agrees Aereo violates copyright law, the broadcasters fighting the service are looking to overturn what the two companies are calling the basic principles of cloud computing, the 2008 Cablevision remote-storage DVR (RS-DVR) decision.

In his statement, Kanojia wrote, “The long-standing landmark Second Circuit decision in Cablevision has served as a crucial underpinning to the cloud computing and cloud storage industry.  The broadcasters’ filing makes clear that they are using Aereo as a proxy to attack Cablevision itself.” Read more

Wisconsin is Aereo’s Next Launch Target

aereo_304The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports controversial streaming TV service Aereo has announced plans to expand into 11 Wisconsin counties by early 2014.

Aereo has already launched in New York, Boston, Atlanta, Miami and five other cities also has designs to move into cities like Chicago and Philadelphia.

According to the Journal Sentinel, the service plans to launch in Dane, Rock, Green, Lafayette, Grant, Iowa, Columbia, Saulk, Richland, Juneau and Marquette counties in the first three months of 2014. Dane County was especially attractive to Aereo because of the University of Wisconsin in Madison.

Barry Diller Says He Would Sue Aereo If He Still Ran FOX


Barry Diller told Bloomberg Media Group chairman Andy Lack at Bloomberg’s “The Year Ahead:2014” conference he would fight Aereo if he still ran FOX.

“I would sue them and I would try and say something about consumers if I did so,” Diller told those in attendance.

The two spoke in-depth about the much contested streaming startup which is backed by Diller’s company IAC. Aereo allows subscribers to record broadcast television for a low monthly fee without reimbursing the content creators through retransmission fees.

“I think we’re on the side of the Angels,” said Diller about the startup which has, so far, been successful in court battles. “They don’t care about Aereo. What they care about is if we can survive then cable is going to run a game…and satellite…is going to run a game against them for essentially reducing, or not every year increasing, retransmission consent payments through the skies.”

He also said he doubts the NFL and Major League Baseball would follow through on their recent threats to pull their games from broadcast TV, “The chances of the NFL going off broadcast television, this is ‘the Super Bowl is not going to be on free broadcast television.’ I want to see that happen. They’re just making noise.” Read more

NFL and MLB May Stop Airing Game Broadcasts if Aereo Prevails

aereo_mlb_nflForget the major broadcasters, Aereo may now be up against sports fans everywhere after the National Football League and Major League Baseball warned if the subscription streaming service wins its Supreme Court case, they might end free game broadcasts.

Major League Baseball and the National Football League filed an amicus brief last week, adding their names to the growing list of broadcasters and organizations looking to stop the controversial streaming media company that allows subscribers to record over the air broadcast signals without paying licensing fees.

According to Variety, the leagues said in their brief, “If copyright holders lose their exclusive retransmission licensing rights and the substantial benefits derived from those rights when they place programming on broadcast stations, those stations will become less attractive mediums for distributing copyrighted content. The option for copyright holders will be to move that content to paid cable networks (such as ESPN and TNT) where Aereo-like services cannot hijack and exploit their programming without authorization.”

Aereo Announces Plan to Launch in Detroit

aereo_304One week from Monday, consumers in Detroit will be able to see what the fuss is all about when Aereo starts letting area viewers access its broadcast streaming technology service.

According to Aereo, “Consumers in nine counties in The Great Lakes State will now be able to access free over-the-air television channels with a cloud-based DVR via supported devices — including Android, which was just announced last week.”

Aereo is facing lawsuits from broadcasters in several cities who say the service violates their right to be paid for their content.

“We’re thrilled to be launching in the Detroit metro area, the birthplace of Motown and the Motor City,” said Aereo CEO and founder Chet Kanojia in a statement. “Across the country, the message from consumers is clear: they want more choice and flexibility when it comes to how they watch television and they don’t want to be fenced into outdated and cumbersome technology.”

Aereo subscribers are able to pause, rewind  and fast-forward any program they are watching live. They can even save programs and watch them later.

Networks Petition Supreme Court in Aereo Fight

aereoMajor television networks including CBS, ABC, NBC and Fox have petitioned the Supreme Court to review their case against streaming television service Aereo, CNET reports.

The rapidly-expanding Aereo, which is now available in more than 25 markets across the country, charges $12 a month to watch live or recorded programming on computers or mobile devices. In April, networks’ efforts to shut down Aereo were dealt a major blow when the U.S. 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the service could continue to operate. Earlier this week, Aereo scored another legal victory against Boston ABC affiliate WCVB.

As CNET points out, the Supreme Court hears less than one percent of the 10,000 petitions it receives each year.

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