Aereo, the TV-anywhere startup that has major broadcast television stations up in arms, doesn’t need a massive subscriber base to become profitable, says CEO Chet Kanojia.
Aereo lets you watch and record free over-the-air local television content (from broadcasters like ABC, NBC, Fox, CBS, CW, and others) via desktop computers, set-top boxes, and mobile devices. It does this by providing a tiny antenna for each subscriber — thus making the service legal in the eyes of the law, thus far. You have the option of paying $8 or $12 per month, depending on how many hours of programming you want to record.
At the Startup Grind event in New York yesterday, Kanojia said Aereo need only obtain “a few hundred thousand” subscribers to hit profitability and could have a “fabulous” business after hitting a million subscribers.
For perspective, video service Netflix currently leads the pack with nearly 30 million domestic subscribers, followed by Hulu Plus’ 4 million paying subscribers. Both of those services are similarly priced, but one key difference is that Aereo’s content licensing costs are nearly non-existent compared to those of other services. And a big part of that is due to it being able to freely stream and store the content that’s already being broadcast with an HD signal in many local markets.
And with Aereo’s rapid expansion in full force, it seems like it won’t take long for the company to reach profitability. Aereo is already available in New York City, Atlanta, and Boston, and it announced plans to roll out service in the near future in Chicago, Dallas, and the entire state of Utah.