Broadcasters May Try to Beat Aereo at Its Own Game

Jun 12, 2013  •  Post A Comment

Aereo may have some competition as it strives to make broadcast TV programming available on phones, tablets and laptops. TheWrap.com reports that broadcasters, who are locked in a legal battle with the new service, may try their hand at livestreaming themselves.

Two broadcasters — ABC and NBC — are already working on it, the piece reports. Aereo, Barry Diller’s New York-based startup, uses an array of small antennae to transmit TV shows in real time to any device.

“Broadcasters aren’t fans of the new company for a couple of reasons,” the story reports. “First, Aereo wants to pull people away from their TVs. And it also allows them to store shows and then fast-forward through the commercials — the commercials that let networks pay for shows.”

The broadcast nets have played down the threat posed by Aereo, but at the same time, their actions indicate they take it seriously, the piece notes. “They’re suing the company under the claim that its use of their signals amounts to illegal retransmission,” TheWrap reports. “And several network executives have threatened to abandon the broadcast airwaves for cable, since Aereo only picks up shows reachable by antennae.”

But their most effective strategy, according to the report, may be to cut into the demand for Aereo’s streaming service — which costs consumers $8 a month — by doing their own livestreaming.

“What differentiates ABC and NBC’s livestreaming from Aereo’s is that no one disputes their right to make their own shows available online at the same time they air on TV,” the report notes. “Not that broadcasters’ reasons for livestreaming have anything to do with Aereo. They say their attempts to make their shows available across more platforms is about making viewers’ happy.”

The piece quotes a spokeswoman for ABC saying: “From our own research as well as that of others, we know consumers want choice and flexibility when it comes to when and how they watch their favorite shows. We’ve seen there to be a huge appetite for viewing on alternate platforms, especially tablets.”

One broadcast executive told TheWrap that all of the networks are likely to eventually go to livestreaming.

Said the executive: "Through legitimate channels, content is going to be ubiquitously available. In the long run, consumers are going to get their content in multiple ways — including broadcast and live streaming. It’s simply the way the market is going."

One Comment

  1. Barry Diller is my hero. He may be the driving force, the pernicious instigator that will make internet TV streaming the norm. With the technology we have it just makes sense.

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