Recently “paused” TV startup Aereo is asking a federal court to grant it the capability to operate like a cable service, according to a legal document filed yesterday.
Aereo offered a “TV anywhere” service that utilized tiny antennas to digitally stream the freely available broadcasted HD TV channel signals to users for a monthly fee. Media companies like CBS and Fox objected, saying that Aereo should pay a licensing fee to carry those channels — even though the service was restricted to those that fell within the parameters of local broadcast areas. And last month the Supreme Court ruled that Aereo was guilty of copyright infringement, which took the service offline indefinitely.
“Unless it is able to resume operations in the immediate future, the company will likely not survive,” Aereo said in the court filing. “The company is figuratively bleeding to death.”
Aereo said it’s experiencing staggering costs, which isn’t surprising considering that it had previously been generating revenue from monthly subscriptions in several major cities in the country.
While Aereo seems to be open to the idea of paying licensing fees (as are the TV networks) to keep the service going, it’s asking the court to permit it to keep operating and bringing in money for a short period of time. The request actually seems fairly reasonable and may even have a chance of succeeding in the lower courts, which had ruled in favor of Aereo prior to the case being sent to the Supreme Court for a final verdict.
Yet, there is one thing that might hold the company back. Aereo kicked off the year by closing a pretty large $34 million round of funding to fuel its expansion efforts. And while expansion would certainly cost a decent amount of money, I’d imagine there’s still plenty left in the bank to scale back the service to just a few of its most lucrative markets (New York City, for instance, where Aereo first launched) after reaching a licensing deal with major broadcast networks.
That said, it’ll be interesting to see if Aereo gets any sympathy from the federal judge.
Via The Guardian