Aereo Chief Executive Chet Kanojia expressed skepticism that broadcast networks would make good on their threats to move to cable to circumvent his service, the New York Post reports. Executives for Fox and Univision talked earlier this month about converting their networks into pay services.
"Are they bluffing?” Kanojia said at an Advertising Age media conference in New York. “I’m the engineer at the bottom of the food chain. There’s an obligation, a public interest,” to provide the signal.
"The real question is a consumer question: Can you rightfully disenfranchise 50 million consumers?” the executive said. “Is that what the preferred policy is?”
Asked whether Aereo would pay retransmission fees, he replied, "The spectrum was granted free to air; all this is, is a new type of antenna.”
The report adds: “Fox Chief Operating Officer Chase Carey said recently that his company had ‘no choice but to develop business solutions that ensure we continue to remain in the driver’s seat of our own destiny. One option could be converting the Fox broadcast network to a pay channel.’”
Univision Chairman Haim Saban made similar comments earlier this month, accusing Aereo of pirating content.
The broadcast networks have been battling Aereo in court, where the networks have lost two decisions, the report notes. The nets have requested that a full federal appeals court hear the case.