If you haven’t been following in the ongoing saga of Aereo, it’s an interesting one. The broadcast networks — especially CBS and Fox — are irate at Aereo’s practice of “renting” antenna usage to mobile users, and re-broadcasting over-the-air content via the interwebs… for a fee. Lawsuits, it goes without saying, have been filed, but in this ever-changing, ever-connected world of media distribution, there’s a chance, however slight, that Aereo might win all of its legal battles.
If that happens, CBS says it will simply take its ball and go home. In other words, it will cease to beam its programming over the airwaves, and will move to cable distribution. At least in New York City, that is. Via Bloomberg:
“We’ve spoken to cable operators in New York. We can do it in a few days,” Leslie Moonves, chief executive officer of the network’s parent CBS Corp. (CBS), said yesterday at the Milken Institute Global Conference in Beverly Hills, California.
The comments from Moonves follow a similar threat last month from News Corp. (NWSA), parent of the Fox broadcast network. Fox and its affiliate stations would stop broadcasting and serve only pay-TV customers to protect the billions of dollars spent annually on programs, along with advertising revenue and hard- won fees from pay-TV systems, Chief Operating Officer Chase Carey told a convention of TV executives in Las Vegas.
And that’s not all. The CBS CEO also intimated that the days of free TV content on Hulu may be numbered, as well, suggesting that “broadcasters,” not just CBS, may be moving their content completely over to the Hulu Plus side of the site, which requires a subscription.