Blog Feed Post

Aereo: It’s Over Now



After months of debate and speculation, the U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday ruled against internet TV service Aereo in a 6-3 decision. The decision was a win for broadcasters that argued Aereo violated their copyright. Even though lesser courts had sided with Aereo, the Supreme Court saw it differently, effectively killing Aereo (at least in its current form).

“It’s over now,” said Barry Diller, whose company IAC led a $20.5 million funding for Aereo in 2012. Diller said Aereo “did try” but has said in the past that there is “no Plan B” if the Supreme Court rules against Aereo.

21st Century Fox said the ruling was “a win for consumers that affirms important copyright protections.” Aereo’s founder and CEO Chet Kanojia said the ruling is “a massive setback for the American consumer” and that it sends a “chilling message to the technology industry.” Aereo says it will continue to fight, but the definitive ruling leaves them with little room to operate.

My good friend, Gary Shapiro, CEO of the Consumer Electronics Association, wrote that the ruling “is a disappointment for startups, consumers and proponents of technological progress” as “more and more of us are demanding the ability to view TV programming on our own tablets and smartphones, not just our TVs.”

The Supreme Court’s ruling directly affected a very small slice of the current TV landscape. Aereo, which launched in 2012 in NYC, is only available in 13 cities and only has about 100,000 subscribers. However, its ramifications for the future are much, much greater – especially considering that in 36 months, more people will be watching primetime television programming online than on broadcast TV. This ruling delays the inevitable – and helps broadcasters keep their heads in the sand.

What the Ruling Means for Broadcasters

The Supreme Court’s ruling against Aereo helps keep the status quo for broadcasters and major networks – which is exactly what they wanted. Major networks were threatening to pull their stations off the air and move to subscription-only if Aereo had won – they said Aereo would create a blueprint that would eventually let cable providers stop paying retransmission fees. (They were right about that specific point.)

The ruling is also a win for the NFL and MLB, both of which said Aereo exploited their copyrighted telecasts and both had threatened to move their games to cable if Aereo was deemed legal.

Les Moonves, CEO of CBS, says the ruling means broadcasters can stay in business: “We will continue to do the same high-quality, premium programming that we’ve done and we will deliver it. This is a pro-consumer thing.”

What the Ruling Means for You

Even if you weren’t an Aereo subscriber, the ruling limits your TV options – and brings into question other cloud-based products you may be using.

Aereo aimed to disrupt cable. Diller said Aereo offered an “alternative to the bundle” that consumers are forced to accept from cable providers.

“It’s not a big [financial] loss for us, but I do believe blocking this technology is a big loss for consumers,” he said. “I salute Chet Kanojia and his band of Aereo’lers for fighting the good fight.”

The ruling is a blow for cord-cutters – both the ones who have already given up on cable and the ones who planned to do so in the near future. It eliminates an inexpensive option to get live TV on their computers, alongside other subscription services like Netflix and Hulu Plus.

A sea change is coming in the broadcast world. Consumers are unhappy with the expensive (and restrictive) subscription models cable and satellite providers are offering. The most recent yearly survey from Temkin Group found support for all of the largest pay TV providers had fallen in the past year. The survey also showed that these pay TV providers were the second worst in customer satisfaction across the 43 industries; the only companies that fared worse were internet service providers.

As Gary Shapiro wrote, the ruling also means that “the migration away from local programming in favor of new alternatives offered by HBO, Netflix, Amazon, YouTube and other innovators in the content and delivery space will continue.” Our expectation of TV is WiWWiWWiW (What I want, When I want, Where I want). Aereo offered broadcast TV that fit that model; traditional broadcasters do not.

What the Ruling Means for the Rest of the Tech World

The bigger fear is that a ruling against Aereo could disrupt and endanger cloud computing – where storing videos and other content on remote servers is the name of the game. Justice Stephen Breyer said the ruling should not affect cloud-based content services or companies (like Google, Microsoft or Dropbox), but that could still be a future battleground.

Could these services such as Box, Dropbox and Google Drive, be next on the chopping block? The types of services that let you stream copyrighted materials stored on a server – like music, books and movies – in exactly the same manner as the technology Aereo was using. Aereo is afraid of these consequences – that’s the “chilling message” Kanojia spoke about.

“We know what the Supreme Court intends to do, which is to say [Aereo] is illegal and nothing else, at least presumptively, is,” said Jessica Litman, a professor at the University of Michigan’s law school. However, “there’s a bunch of ambiguity in the attempted carve-out of cloud storage services.”

The Future of Aereo and TV

Aereo doesn’t have the revenue to pay the retransmission fees major broadcast networks do. It also doesn’t have the money to begin an expensive legal battle. It’s likely this is the end of the road for Aereo, unless it completely re-works its business model – which seems antithetical to the basis for the company.

“If broadcasters won’t adapt to what we as viewers want,” writes Gary Shapiro, “they will continue to face challenges from disruptive innovators like Aereo.” Let’s hope so. I would hate to think that this ruling inhibits innovation in any way, but only time will tell.

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Shelly Palmer

Shelly Palmer is the host of Fox Television’s "Shelly Palmer Digital Living" television show about living and working in a digital world. He is Fox 5′s (WNYW-TV New York) Tech Expert and the host of United Stations Radio Network’s, MediaBytes, a daily syndicated radio report that features insightful commentary and a unique insiders take on the biggest stories in technology, media, and entertainment.

Latest Stories
Most people haven’t heard the word, “gamification,” even though they probably, and perhaps unwittingly, participate in it every day. Gamification is “the process of adding games or game-like elements to something (as a task) so as to encourage participation.” Further, gamification is about bringing game mechanics – rules, constructs, processes, and methods – into the real world in an effort to engage people. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Robert Endo, owner and engagement manager of Intrepid D...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Enzu will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Enzu’s mission is to be the leading provider of enterprise cloud solutions worldwide. Enzu enables online businesses to use its IT infrastructure to their competitive advantage. By offering a suite of proven hosting and management services, Enzu wants companies to focus on the core of their online busine...
@DevOpsSummit has been named the ‘Top DevOps Influencer' by iTrend. iTrend processes millions of conversations, tweets, interactions, news articles, press releases, blog posts - and extract meaning form them and analyzes mobile and desktop software platforms used to communicate, various metadata (such as geo location), and automation tools. In overall placement, @DevOpsSummit ranked as the number one ‘DevOps Influencer' followed by @CloudExpo at third, and @MicroservicesE at 24th.
WebRTC adoption has generated a wave of creative uses of communications and collaboration through websites, sales apps, customer care and business applications. As WebRTC has become more mainstream it has evolved to use cases beyond the original peer-to-peer case, which has led to a repeating requirement for interoperability with existing infrastructures. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Graham Holt, Executive Vice President of Daitan Group, will cover implementation examples that have enabled ea...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Roundee / LinearHub will exhibit at the WebRTC Summit at @ThingsExpo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. LinearHub provides Roundee Service, a smart platform for enterprise video conferencing with enhanced features such as automatic recording and transcription service. Slack users can integrate Roundee to their team via Slack’s App Directory, and '/roundee' command lets your video conference ...
Enterprise IT has been in the era of Hybrid Cloud for some time now. But it seems most conversations about Hybrid are focused on integrating AWS, Microsoft Azure, or Google ECM into existing on-premises systems. Where is all the Private Cloud? What do technology providers need to do to make their offerings more compelling? How should enterprise IT executives and buyers define their focus, needs, and roadmap, and communicate that clearly to the providers?
In the next forty months – just over three years – businesses will undergo extraordinary changes. The exponential growth of digitization and machine learning will see a step function change in how businesses create value, satisfy customers, and outperform their competition. In the next forty months companies will take the actions that will see them get to the next level of the game called Capitalism. Or they won’t – game over. The winners of today and tomorrow think differently, follow different...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Sheng Liang to Keynote at SYS-CON's 19th Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1-3, 2016 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, California.
So you think you are a DevOps warrior, huh? Put your money (not really, it’s free) where your metrics are and prove it by taking The Ultimate DevOps Geek Quiz Challenge, sponsored by DevOps Summit. Battle through the set of tough questions created by industry thought leaders to earn your bragging rights and win some cool prizes.
More and more brands have jumped on the IoT bandwagon. We have an excess of wearables – activity trackers, smartwatches, smart glasses and sneakers, and more that track seemingly endless datapoints. However, most consumers have no idea what “IoT” means. Creating more wearables that track data shouldn't be the aim of brands; delivering meaningful, tangible relevance to their users should be. We're in a period in which the IoT pendulum is still swinging. Initially, it swung toward "smart for smar...
DevOps is being widely accepted (if not fully adopted) as essential in enterprise IT. But as Enterprise DevOps gains maturity, expands scope, and increases velocity, the need for data-driven decisions across teams becomes more acute. DevOps teams in any modern business must wrangle the ‘digital exhaust’ from the delivery toolchain, "pervasive" and "cognitive" computing, APIs and services, mobile devices and applications, the Internet of Things, and now even blockchain. In this power panel at @...
Without lifecycle traceability and visibility across the tool chain, stakeholders from Planning-to-Ops have limited insight and answers to who, what, when, why and how across the DevOps lifecycle. This impacts the ability to deliver high quality software at the needed velocity to drive positive business outcomes. In his general session at @DevOpsSummit at 19th Cloud Expo, Eric Robertson, General Manager at CollabNet, will discuss how customers are able to achieve a level of transparency that e...
SYS-CON Events announced today that SoftNet Solutions will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. SoftNet Solutions specializes in Enterprise Solutions for Hadoop and Big Data. It offers customers the most open, robust, and value-conscious portfolio of solutions, services, and tools for the shortest route to success with Big Data. The unique differentiator is the ability to architect and ...
"Matrix is an ambitious open standard and implementation that's set up to break down the fragmentation problems that exist in IP messaging and VoIP communication," explained John Woolf, Technical Evangelist at Matrix, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
In past @ThingsExpo presentations, Joseph di Paolantonio has explored how various Internet of Things (IoT) and data management and analytics (DMA) solution spaces will come together as sensor analytics ecosystems. This year, in his session at @ThingsExpo, Joseph di Paolantonio from DataArchon, will be adding the numerous Transportation areas, from autonomous vehicles to “Uber for containers.” While IoT data in any one area of Transportation will have a huge impact in that area, combining sensor...