Main | Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Fox Threatens To Go Cable Only

In response to a court ruling that backs the makers of a device that allows subscribers to stream local television from the airwaves to their computers, Fox executives have threatened to stop broadcasting their signal over the air and go cable only.
A top executive with the owner of the Fox broadcast network on Monday threatened to convert the network to a pay-TV-only channel if Internet startup Aereo Inc. continues to "steal" Fox's over-the-air signal and sell it to consumers without paying for rights. Anyone with an antenna can pick up a TV station's signals for free. But cable and satellite companies typically pay stations and networks for the right to distribute their programming to subscribers. Industrywide, those retransmission fees add up to billions of dollars every year.

Aereo takes broadcast signals for free from the air with thousands of little antennas, recodes them for Internet use and feeds that to subscribers' computers, tablets and smartphones. Plans start at $8 a month, which is much cheaper than a cable package, though the service is mostly limited to broadcast channels. Last week, the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York said that Aereo could continue its service despite a legal challenge by broadcast networks Fox, ABC, NBC and CBS.
Aereo, whose main backer is billionaire mogul Barry Diller, currently only offers its services in New York City but plans to expand nationwide. Consumers, some of whom now pay cable providers for hundreds of channels that they don't watch, could pair Aereo with Netflix for around $20 a month.

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