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Update Legal Battle on Aereo and the Broadcasters

by John on 05/31/2012

Here is a good piece on the legal battle from MediaPost and what could be a major disruption in TV and news and how you watch it.

Some interesting stuff:

  • Aereo, provided only in New York City, has no paying customers.  About 3,500 people have signed up, but they’re still in the 3-month trial period before they have to pay $12 a month.
  • The networks are scared.  Mediapost reports about “the mass of lawyers – at least three long rows – that occupied the Manhattan court room on Wednesday.”
  • Comcast thought about investing in Aereo at one time.
  • Mediapost correctly discusses how networks have come to rely on retransmission fees from the cable operators:  “a successful Aereo that survives court challenges could set a precedent where cable, satellite and telco TV operators might be able to skirt the payments.”
  • Aereo has plans to become a full-scale operation offering, not just local TV programs from public antennas, but also movies and sports across the country.
  • A ruling against Aereo ends the company.

Again my predictions if Aereo wins:

  1. You will start watching TV on the Internet through live streaming.  Right now, the cable companies restrict TV stations from streaming live because they’re paying them a fee to air on cable. 
  2. Half of the TV stations won’t exist anymore.  Only the TV stations with a strong online presence and the ability to produce good local programming will survive. 
  3. Networks will drop affiliates.  They won’t need them.  You will get your network programming directly from the network online.
  4. As more people turn to the Internet or their tablets from programming, more independent producers will create shows for local viewers.  

I’ll keep you posted.

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