Angered over Aereo’s recent win in Appeals court, News Corp is threatening to cancel its free Fox TV network and switch it completely to a subscription-based service. Many other networks are also frustrated with Aereo, which takes over-the-air broadcast signals with its thousands of little antennas and feeds them to its subscribers’ computers, phones, and tablets. Many networks that have fought against Aereo include Fox, ABC, NBC, CBS, PBS, Univision, and more.
Chase Carey, Chief Operating Officer of News Corp, stated,
Aereo is stealing our signal. We believe in our legal rights. We’re going to pursue those legal rights fully and completely, and we believe we’ll prevail. But we want to be clear. If we can’t have our rights properly protected through legal and political avenues, we will pursue business solutions. One such business solution would be to take the network and turn it into a subscription service.
Carey also stated,
“One option could be converting the Fox broadcast network to a pay channel, which we would do in collaboration with both our content partners and affiliates.”
Because Aereo has individual antennas picking up the broadcast signals, the court ruled that Aereo wasn’t retransmitting signals. It stated that Aereo was merely offering subscribers an option that they could already do with their own antennas. If the court did rule that Aereo was retransmitting the broadcast signals, it would most likely have to pay a fee to the TV networks.
Retransmission fees add up to billions of dollars in total each year, and are usually paid by companies that want to redistribute the networks’ programming to their subscribers. The court says that like Cablevision’s web-based RS-DVR, Aereo isn’t a video-on-demand service and isn’t retransmitting signals. It is merely storing individual copies of TV shows and providing them to the user who had requested them.
If Fox is converted to a subscription-based network, many popular TV shows, like American Idol, Glee, Family Guy, and X-Factor, will see a drastic hit in viewers. All of those shows are what made Fox so popular, so limiting the number of viewers who have access to them may backfire on Fox. Aereo charges a fee for its services. Fees range from $8-$12 monthly, and $80 for the entire year. We’ll keep you posted on how this case turns out.
[via Fox News]