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Aereo, the TV streaming service that faced long-running legal battles against broadcasters, announced today that it has filed for bankruptcy.
In a blog post, chief executive and founder Chet Kanojia said that after years of trying to overcome industry opposition and setbacks in courtrooms, a ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court this summer proved to be too much.
“The U.S. Supreme Court decision effectively changed the laws that had governed Aereo’s technology, creating regulatory and legal uncertainty,” he wrote. “And while our team has focused its energies on exploring every path forward available to us, without that clarity, the challenges have proven too difficult to overcome. Accordingly, today, we filed for Chapter 11 reorganization proceedings.”
The official announcement is hardly a shocker. Earlier this month, Aereo closed its Boston office and laid off 43 employees. The remaining employees in its New York City headquarters would seem to be facing the same fate.
Aereo arrived in 2012 with the promise of a technology that let users stream any channel that was otherwise available for free over the traditional broadcast airwaves. The company grabbed those signals through its own antennas and then essentially let users rent those antennas via its service to watch those channels on any device.
The company, which raised more than $100 million, thought it had found a clever way to walk a fine legal line that would bring big disruption to the television industry. But broadcasters were furious, and over time, courts increasingly sided with broadcasters’ arguments against Aereo.
“The enthusiasm we encountered was overwhelming,” Kanojia wrote. “The sense of frustration consumers expressed reinforced our mission. We knew we had touched a nerve, had created something special, and had built something meaningful for consumers. But we encountered significant challenges from the incumbent media companies.”
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