Upstart digital TV distributor Aereo has raised another $38 million and has announced plans to expand into 22 cities, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Barry Diller and other investors — including Highland Capital Partners — are re-upping on their initial investment with the new round of financing announced today, the piece notes.
“Aereo’s new financing and expansion was showcased at the Citi Global Internet, Media & Telecommunications Conference at CES, where Aereo CEO Chet Kanojia gave a talk,” THR reports. “The expanded footstep will cover Atlanta, Austin, Baltimore, Birmingham, Ala., Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Houston, Kansas City, Mo., Madison, Wis., Miami, Minneapolis, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Providence, R.I., Raleigh-Durham, N.C., Salt Lake City, Tampa, Fla., and Washington D.C.”
The news is not expected to be met with enthusiasm from broadcasters. “Aereo is still in the midst of defending a lawsuit from all of the major TV networks, which contend that the company has infringed copyrights on their programming,” the piece notes.
Aereo’s initial rollout was focused exclusively on New York City. “After Aereo launched and was taken to court by TV broadcasters aghast at a company distributing content to consumer computers, tablets and smartphones without a license, the upstart company fended off a preliminary injunction largely on the basis of legal precedent in the New York jurisdiction,” the report notes. “The broadcasters have since made an expedited appeal of the injunction denial and a decision should be coming in the next few months.”
But Aereo appears to be gaining confidence in its legal situation, and announced plans to continue an aggessive expansion through 2013.
“Questions remain about whether Aereo has been gaining traction with consumers,” the piece reports. “In August, the company rolled out a new pricing structure to entice subscribers, offering daily rates as low as $1 as well as different $8 and $12 monthly plans and an $80 annual plan. The company only attracted a few thousand subscribers in the first few months of operation, but Aereo executives say they have been pleased with growth since then, though they have not publicly revealed recent subscriber numbers.”