Aereo and the threat to broadcast TV
Aereo is a company that has been popping up in the news a lot lately due to the lawsuits they are dealing with over Internet TV service. What makes Aereo different is that the content people want to see is available to them. Cable bills are something that many people would love to avoid if they could. The problem is most Internet TV options are extremely limiting. Sites like Hulu and Netflix only get shows a good while after they’ve already aired, and what actual shows are released are also often very limited. Because of this people who would otherwise have “cut the cord” continue their cable subscriptions just to see the shows they want.
Aereo found a work around to this problem, they have set up a large array of receiving TV antennas that are reserved for their individual subscribers. Basically someone “rents” one of these antennas and is able to stream content from it to their computer or other media device. This is something that has many broadcasters up in arms. Aereo is being sued by both Fox, PBS and others, but so far it seems the courts are siding against the networks. If the courts rule against the TV networks we may see a dramatic change to the broadcast television that we all know. News Corp.’s Chief Operating Officer Chase Carey released a statement saying, “Fox and its affiliate stations would stop broadcasting and serve only pay-TV customers to protect the billions of dollars spent annually on programs, along with advertising revenue and hard-won fees from pay-TV systems.” This means the only way to see Fox stations would be through Cable or Satellite companies, the TV antenna would not work. CBS, NBC and ABC could do this as well, bringing an end to Broadcast Television that has been around for more than 60 years.
Why do the networks care so much? The loss of income, of course. Unlike Cable and Satellite subscriptions Aereo doesn’t pay Transmission fees to the TV networks. Essentially stations that people may have difficulty getting over the air are becoming available to them for a drastically lower price. Currently Aereo is only available in New York City, but the company is planning on expanding into many other cities soon, so long as they win the court battle, that is.