TiVo has launched a promo for ex-Aereo customers that gives them a Roamio OTA box, a TiVo Stream and two years of service for no money down and $20 per month.
A year less a day after the Barry Diller-backed streaming service argued in front of the Supreme Court over the broadcasters’ claims of copyright violation, the now Chapter 11 Aereo hopes its come to the end of the long legal road. The shuttered company and its nemesis’ have come to a deal that will see Aereo pay out $950,000 to ABC, Fox, CBS, NBC, Telemundo and others so they will end their legal pursuit of the Chet Kanojia founded tech firm.
TiVo Inc. President-CEO Tom Rogers said in a statement Friday that the San Jose, Calif.-based company will acquire Aereo’s trademarks and customer lists. He said that it will help Tivo serve consumers that “want access to both broadcast television and over the top content.”
As TiVo scores access to the names of about 100,000 former Aereo customers, a bankruptcy plan is made to wind down Aereo’s business and settle claims by TV broadcasters.
Aereo, the defunct streaming-TV service shuttered last year over copyright violations, raised less than $2 million from the sale of its assets in a bankruptcy auction this week. An attorney for Aereo calls the results disappointing. The company had expected to bring in anywhere from $4 million to $31.2 million.
The now-defunct Web TV service, which recently filed for bankruptcy, ended its run in June with a little more than 108,000 subscribers in 14 cities, according to its filings with the U.S. Copyright Office. While small, Aereo grew its subscriber base by nearly 40% between the end of last year, when it had about 78,000 customers, and June.
Aereo has reached a deal with broadcasters in U.S. Bankruptcy Court that will allow the former streaming service to auction off its TV technology — as long the the networks be allowed to monitor the process and examine any potential deal. The latest news comes after Aereo filed for voluntary Chapter 11 reorganization last month following the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in June that Aereo must pay broadcasters to retransmit their free, over-the-air signals.
The TV industry has already shut down Aereo at the Supreme Court and driven it into bankruptcy, but that’s apparently not enough: now CBS, Fox, NBC and other big broadcasters are asking a judge to block any asset sale that would allow the defunct streaming TV company to reinvent itself as a cloud-DVR service. According to bankruptcy court filings, the broadcasters believe that an asset sale could deprive them of the ability to collect copyright damages related to Aereo’s services.
With votes coming any day now, the FCC could be primed to begin a process that would give online video providers like FilmOn and Aereo access to some of the advantages enjoyed by cable and satellite TV services.
Aereo Inc., the online TV-streaming service that sought bankruptcy protection last week, said it’s drawing interest from large Internet firms and a few Fortune 500 companies that want to buy its assets.
The streaming company says it filed a voluntary Chapter 11 reorganization at the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in New York due to “the uncertain regulatory and legal climate” following the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in June that Aereo must pay broadcasters to retransmit their free, over-the-air signals.
Aereo’s bad year just got worse. The company said on Thursday that it will shut down its Boston office and lay off 43 employees, citing yet another adverse court ruling and its trouble obtaining additional investment. It’s unclear if it will continue its operations in New York as it struggles to find a business model.
A close look at FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler’s proposal to make online video distributors [OVDs] the regulatory and legal equal of cable and satellite with all the same rights and obligations means such services, including Aereo, would be subject to retransmission consent. This is a big deal and broadcasters at all levels will need to be fully engaged in the rulemaking to make sure it doesn’t go bad.
A federal judge barred online video distributor Aereo from streaming over-the-air TV shows in real time to subscribers’ smartphones and tablets, but cleared the way for the company to resume offering its remote DVR service. The order, issued Thursday by U.S. District Court Judge Alison Nathan in New York, marks the latest turn in a two-year battle over the online service.
On Wednesday, New York federal judge Alison Nathan considered a preliminary injunction against Aereo. At a hearing, attorneys for broadcasters and Aereo took turns arguing before a humbled judge who two years ago offered the prospect of revolution in the TV industry by denying an injunction on grounds that the relaying of individual copies of over-the-air TV signals constituted a private performance permissible under the Transmit Clause of the Copyright Act. This time, after the U.S Supreme Court concluded otherwise, Judge Nathan was more skeptical of Aereo’s arguments, even downright contemptuous at moments.
Aereo Inc. asked the FCC to change the definition of a multichannel video program distributor to help the startup find a way to resume operations. Since the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Aereo’s digital streaming service violated broadcasters’ copyrights, Aereo is now seeking permission to operate like a cable TV provider. Aereo CEO Chet Kanojia met with FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler and other officials on Oct. 8 to advocate for online programming to be added to the MVPD definition.
Aereo says in new court papers that it’s entitled to continue operating, despite a recent Supreme Court ruling that the company infringes copyright by streaming over-the-air programs to smartphones and tablets. The Barry Diller-backed start-up argues in papers filed on Friday evening that it’s now entitled to a compulsory cable license, which would allow it to transmit broadcast television shows.
Aereo’s fight for survival was dealt a setback on Thursday when a federal court rejected the streaming television service’s argument that it should be recognized as a cable TV service. The shuttered company, which the Supreme Court said in June was illegally retransmitting broadcast TV over the Internet, will have to take its case to a federal district court to continue its cable TV defense, the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled.
A coalition of television broadcasters is asking a judge to prohibit Aereo from operating its streaming video service anywhere in the country. The broadcasters say the Supreme Court’s recent decision against Aereo requires the company to shut down. Aereo voluntarily suspended operations after that decision came out. But the company says it hopes to soon resume operations — this time as a cable operator.
On Thursday night, Aereo pleaded for its life to a New York federal judge, claiming it was “bleeding to death” in its current non-operational state. Friday U.S. District Court Judge Alison Nathan reacted swiftly, knocking Aereo for having “jumped the gun in filing, without authorization, its motion for emergency consideration of preliminary injunction issues upon remand.”
A federal judge tells the streaming company that it should have nixed streaming major broadcasters’ shows to smartphones and tablets as soon as the Supreme Court ruled against Aereo for doing so. FilmOn continued its service for nearly two weeks after the Aereo decision.
Paperwork filed with the U.S. Copyright Office shows that the streaming service had fewer than 80,000 subscribers at the end of 2013. About 27,000 of those subscribers lived in New York, where the service launched in 2012. Boston trailed with 12,000.
Now that the court has ruled against Aereo for copyright infringement, broadcasters are taking on the FilmOn, which is launching a new streaming service it says won’t have legal issues. Broadcasters say the company’s new type of streaming service, called “teleporter,” is no more legitimate than any other that streams TV shows without licenses.
In its Aereo ruling last month, the Supreme Court said that Aereo was “highly similar” to a cable system. But now the Copyright Office says it does not “see anything” in the ruling that would cause it to alter its long-standing opposition to extending the cable compulsory license to online distributors. “In the view of the Copyright Office, Internet retransmission of broadcast television falls outside the scope of [the] license,” it said.
After its loss at the Supreme Court, Aereo’s new tack is to declare itself a cable system with the ability to use the compulsory license to cover the liability just as every regular cable systems does. The problem with that is that it has still not acknowledged in any forum that it is willing to accept not only the privileges of being a cable system, most notably the compulsory license, but also the obligations, most notably retransmission consent. Without a commitment to pay retrans, Aereo is simply playing the same old game, trying to skate by without paying for programming.
In the wake of the June 25 Supreme Court decision, the online distributor of broadcast signals is taking a new legal tack: it’s a cable system and entitled to the compulsory license just like any conventional cable system. In making the argument, Aereo cites the high court’s finding that Aereo is “for all practical purposes” a cable system. Arguing for an immediate injunction against Aereo, broadcasters said Aereo’s new argument is “astonishing,” given its past insistance that it was not a cable system.
Antennas Direct is giving away 1,000 antennas to Aereo subscribers. The company will ship a free ClearStream 2 Complete antenna (50+ Mile Range), 30 ft. of coaxial cable and 20-inch J-Mount (MSRP $129.99) upon recipt of an Aereo billing statement and $10 for shipping.
After losing in the Supreme Court, Aereo CEO Chet Kanojia aims to keep up the fight by rallying the company’s supporters.
“We have decided to pause our operations temporarily as we consult with the court and map out our next steps,” Aereo’s Chief Executive Officer Chet Kanojia wrote in a letter to customers posted on its website Saturday.
The way I see it, in closing the door on Aereo, the Supreme Court opened wide the door for the video distribution of broadcast signals by settling the question of whether online video distributors are cable systems. Clearly, they are, the court says. So, in effect, an online video distributor that wants to carry a broadcast signal no longer has to worry about clearing copyrights of individual rights holders, including the rapacious sports leagues. It only has to get permission from the broadcasters.
Aereo was still operating Wednesday afternoon, since the U.S. District Court in New York must still implement the Supreme Court’s findings. But Aereo’s options are limited. The ruling may also affect other Internet services, though the Supreme Court did try to limit the scope of its decision. Here’s a closer look at the ruling and what it means for Aereo and Internet users.
Wells Fargo securities analyst Marci Ryvicker says a victory for Aereo at the Supreme Court would likely send pure-play TV stocks lower by 15%-20%. The ruling is expected before July 4 and could come as early as today.
Even if the Supreme Court shuts down Aereo, entrepreneur Chet Kanojia may still prove to be the mole who can’t be whacked, writes J.J. Colao, noting that in all, the company has 18 pending patents. “We have a lot of interesting stuff that’s valuable,” Kanojia tells Colao — enough intellectual property to make one or more viable businesses, even if not the transformative monster first envisioned.
It remains to be seen whether cable operators will try to mimic Aereo if its approach to delivering broadcast TV — without paying for it — passes muster at the Supreme Court. But at least one major MSO was interested enough in Aereo that it tried to buy a stake in the company: Liberty Global, the international cable operator led by Chairman John Malone, at one point considered investing in the TV-streaming startup but ultimately decided not to, according to CTO Balan Nair.
Media General CEO George Mahoney told analysts today that “we’re pleased with the way the Aereo argument went. It’s terrific that the Justice Department came in on the side of broadcasters. We came away from the argument feeling better than we had and we went in feeling pretty good.”
With oral arguments in the copyright challenge case between Aereo and broadcasters scheduled to go before the Supreme Court on Tuesday, Aereo founder and CEO Chet Kanojia talksabout the his company, the case and the competition.
Aereo says its groundbreaking cloud-based antenna and DVR technology using Google Chromecast will launch May 29. Aereo members and consumers in active Aereo markets will be able to download (or update) the Aereo app for Android in the Google Play store.
Even as Aereo faces a potentially crippling U.S. Supreme Court fight, the streaming television start-up is getting ready for a big expansion across the country. Aereo is prepping for a massive rollout of its service in 50 cities across the country, but first it must make good on its promise of service to 22 cities, which was supposed to be complete by the end of last year. It’s currently offering service in 13 cities.
The Supreme Court hears from amici curiae looking to save the digital upstart’s business from legal challenge.