Potential Game Changer: Time Warner Cable CEO Says If Aereo Ultimately Passes Legal Muster the MSO May Use ‘Similar’ Technology To Deliver Broadcast Signals to Its Cable Subs. Billions of Dollars in Retrans Fees Could be at Stake

May 3, 2013  •  Post A Comment

Glenn Britt, Time Warner Cable’s chairman and CEO, "said his company may consider capturing television content from public airwaves and delivering them to customers over an Internet connection, a practice that has shaken the entertainment industry.," reports Cecilia Kang in the Washington Post.

Billions of dollars in retransmission fees could be at stake.

The story continues, "The idea was pioneered by a Web start-up called Aereo, whose business model sparked lawsuits from all of the nation’s broadcasters, including NBC, CBS, Fox and ABC. Their complaints in courts have failed" thus far.

The article adds, "The entry of Time Warner Cable into Aereo’s space would be a game changer, with broad implications for how television is created and delivered to households. Unlike Aereo, which serves only two markets, Time Warner is the country’s second-largest cable company and has broad influence over how TV content is delivered into millions of living rooms."

The piece then quotes Time Warner Cable chief Britt: " ‘What Aereo is doing to bring broadcast signals to its customers is interesting,’ Time Warner Cable chief executive Glenn Britt said in an interview. ‘If it is found legal, we could conceivably use similar technology."

Currently cable operators pay big bucks in retransmission fees to broadcasters. Analsyts at SNL Kagan have predicted that by 2017 retrans fees could hit close to $5 billion.

To read more about Britt’s interest in what Aereo is doing, we suggest you click on the link in the first paragraph, above, to read Kang’s entire insightful article.


  1. I remember at one point, similar technology was being used by “Buckeye Cablesystem” in Toledo. I remeber on some nights, we’d see skips of WJET 24 when our local former ABC (WNWO) would sign off. We also saw skips over CBET, to see WCPO 9 (Cinci), WKYT 27 (horse logo), when WBGU had issues… and ABC36 in Lexington, who had a radar image overnights, when programming was not logged. This said to me that an antenna was used… hence “similar technology” How many antennas were used?… who knows. However, I have to caution cable systems of difficult signals to get in, to save space. The smaller antennae will NOT get in some channels. This could have ramifications on mandatory-carry laws.
    If cable companies even think of doing this… they should get a very attractive deal to the consumers, who are probably over-paying already for internet service to transmit/retransmit the signals.

  2. Digital has been used to lock up all signals in order to squeeze every dime possible out of the consumer. It’s nice to know some forward thinking folks are now using digital to allow you to see public signals that you or the cable company should not have to pay for (again). The must-carry’s are not that big of a deal.
    Go Glenn! Bravo Aereo!

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