We should all be paying attention to the Aereo TV case. Using antennas, the company delivers over-the-air broadcast channels to subscribers’ computers for $10 a month.
Broadcasters have sued. Judges have refused to issue an injunction stopping the Aereo service, which is not available in Rochester. Angered, Fox threatened to make its channel cable-only.
Aereo customers pay a monthly or annual subscription fee, based in part on how much digital storage space they’d like. Then, they’re assigned a tiny antenna – no cable box or any other equipment – that’s kept with all other antennas at an offsite location maintained by the company. That antenna allows subscribers to watch live broadcast television on their computer, and they can also save content to watch later.
Broadcasters are “concerned from a revenue standpoint,” said Mike Cavender, executive director for the Radio Television Digital News Association. They worry that online subscriptions to Aereo could cut down on cable subscriptions for the networks – and that could mean less advertising revenue and fewer advertising deals.
I think broadcasters will lose this fight, if not this particular battle. Tired of $100 a month cable bills, 5 million households have cut the cord. It’s a small fraction of U.S. households, but it’s growing. As iPads get cheaper and online video content gets better, people will turn away from their television sets.
A la carte television is coming. We will end up paying for only what we watch. It will be a major disruptive force for the entire television industry. It could directly affect my own job as a TV reporter. But consumers want this kind of choice and services like Aereo will keep popping up to provide it.
Links of the Day:
– Lovely Warren is attempting to paint Mayor Tom Richards as a man without vision who’s focused on big business and downtown at the expense of neighborhoods.
– “He never seemed like a spy.” Albany is riveted by a Bronx assemblyman who wore a wire for four years.
– Cuomo’s alleged coup against Silver backfired big time. Meanwhile, criticism of the governor grows, marking the end of his long honeymoon.
– Xerox could change the way electronic devices are made, with tiny chips woven into objects.
– Why is the news media fascinated when a child walks somewhere alone and is not kidnapped, but helped by nice strangers? This is the norm (and it’s not news).