CBS Could Create Its Own Internet-TV Service If Aereo Wins

CBS CEO Les Moonves is confident the broadcasters will win the fight against startup Aereo. If not, he says CBS could make an Aereo of its own.

CBS Could Create Its Own Internet-TV Service If Aereo Wins
Facebook / Aereo

The fight between major broadcasters and TV-streaming startup Aereo continues. But CBS CEO Leslie Moonves isn’t worried.

He talked to CNBC Friday, saying he’s “confident” the broadcasters will win the final fight.

He’s referring to the U.S. Supreme Court hearing, which begins at the end of April. Moonves adds if the broadcasters lose, CBS has plans.

“Putting our shows directly on cable, forming our own Aereo with the other networks, going over the top. Lots of solutions. No fear on my part.” (Via CNBC)

That’s probably because the U.S. Department of Justice is siding with the broadcasters – something Time calls a “significant setback for Aereo.”

As a refresher, Aereo works like a modern version of rabbit ears. (Via Wikimedia Commons / Infrogmation)

Each customer receives a unique antenna. That device intercepts broadcast signals and delivers them via the internet to your devices. It takes advantage of cloud-storage to allow users to record shows, DVR-style. (Via Aereo)

No where in that chain did you hear me say, “and then the broadcasters receive their retransmission fee,” and CBS, ABC, Fox and NBC aren’t cool with that.

So they filed a lawsuit, alleging copyright infringement. Last year, a federal appeals court ruled in favor of Aereo. If that happens again at the Supreme Court level –

Bloomberg reports it could embolden cable and satellite providers to stop paying those retransmission fees. “Such payments are estimated to exceed $4 billion this year.”

Aereo’s argument is simple. It says it’s system while new is legal. “Consumers have long had the right to use an antenna to watch over-the-air television and make recordings for their own personal use”

The broadcasters see Aereo as a retransmission. What matters to them, according to The Hollywood Reporter, is “the performances are sent to tens of thousands of viewers online for a profit.”

And we’ve seen some broadcasters, like Fox, say if they lose, they might move to cable.

Moonves idea to challenge Aereo with an over-the-top service is a new alternative. Aereo’s CEO says that’s easier said than done.

“This is a very complicated technology. No, I’m not suggesting we are the only people in the world that can solve these problems, but they’re not that straightforward problems to solve.”

He adds the startup does not have a “Plan B” should it lose in the Supreme Court.