Barry Diller, the legendary television executive who created the Fox Network about 30 years ago, has turned his attention to a new model for distributing broadcast programming, Brian Stelter reports for The New York Times’ Media Decoder blog.
Diller rolled out a new service this week called Aereo, which distributes television over the Internet. Diller’s IAC/InterActiveCorp led a $20.5 million round of financing for the start-up, which Diller said “pries over-the-air broadcast television out of that closed system" of broadcast, cable and satellite, the story notes.
The service will be available in mid-March in New York City, allowing customers in the nation’s largest TV market to stream programming from the local New York stations that carry ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC to Internet-connected TVs, phones and tablets, according to the piece. The price will be $12 a month and will include a DVR. It won’t include a complete lineup of cable networks, the story points out.
According to the article, "Last year, a service called Ivi TV tried to redistribute broadcast television signals on the Internet, but it was stopped by a federal judge in New York after broadcasters and content providers sued, saying the company was effectively stealing their signals and work. The service is appealing that ruling. Aereo says that by setting up antenna arrays, it is wholly different.
Here’s how the "antenna" part works, according to the story: "In Brooklyn, the company has arrayed thousands of tiny antennas — each the size of a thumbprint — so that each subscriber has an assigned antenna. That way, the company says, it complies with laws involving the exhibition of copyrighted material. ‘Technically we’re actually providing a use license for the antenna and the cloud DVR,’ " said Aereo founder Chet Kanojia.
The idea is to appeal to people who don’t want cable, the story says. "If you have this and you have Netflix, you absolutely have the ability to not have a standard cable subscription,” said Kanojia, according to the story.
The article adds that Aereo "is bracing for possible legal challenges from TV stations. ‘We understand that when you try to take something meaningful on, you have to be prepared for challenges,’ Mr. Kanojia said. The major stations in New York declined to comment."