Aereo’s got a big problem right now. The company is being sued left right and center because it isn’t paying retransmission fees to the broadcast networks for its broadcast-to-mobile streaming service. Aereo’s position is that it’s “renting” antenna usage to the end user, which makes such fees inapplicable. But whether that’s a valid argument or not (especially from a legal standpoint), the company is looking for other solutions to keep the business afloat
According to CNET, the that solution may end up being something akin to the HBO GO business model: tying the service to cable and broadband subscriptions. Since both Dish and AT&T also have retransmission licenses, hypothetically this would take care of Aereo’s legal woes while opening the service up to a potential huge new customer base at the same time.
I think cable companies are slowly coming to the realization that customers don’t really care about how programming arrives at their eyeballs, and that becoming flexible in delivery platforms is going to be paramount for the future. In all honesty, these companies want to sell you something, anything, and if that means they can charge you a few extra bucks for letting you stream broadcast, and maybe even cable, TV they’re probably game. It’ll be interesting to see if the new, more nimble, and far more legally viable Aereo 2.0 emerges, or whether the war with the networks will continue.