A couple of days ago TVWriter™ posted a video interview with Aereo investor/brains behind the whole thing Barry Diller and mentioned that the battle between him and NewsCorp/Rupert Murdoch over whether Aereo is legal was a dick fight of the highest order.
Now the Great TV Satan himself, CBS’s Les Moonves has entered the fray. He’s siding with NewsCorp, of course, cuz there’s no $$$ in it for him or CBS in going Aereo’s way.
All in all, I really like his plan if Aereo stays in business. A lot. But I’m not going to tell anybody. How would it look if I took the side of the biggest dick of all?
CBS and the other over-the-air broadcast networks are currently suing Aereo, the New York-based startup that transmits live TV over the Internet to subscribers who pay a monthly fee, but doesn’t pay anything to the broadcasters for doing so. Now, the head of CBS is saying the network might pull its signal off the air and go cable-only if it can’t stop Aereo.
“We’ve spoken to cable operators in New York,”said CBS Corp. CEO Les Moonves about pulling his network from the airwaves. “We can do it in a few days.”
At issue is the legality of Aereo. The broadcasters claim the company is illegally retransmitting their signals without paying. Aereo, which has a an array of tiny antennae, each dedicated to a single customer, maintains that it does not have to pay because it is doing nothing more than taking in the over-the-air signal via antenna and then sending it straight to the customer. The company holds that this is no different than having an antenna on the roof of a building.
“It’s illegal,” counters Moonves. “They’re taking our signal and charging people for it.”
In January, CBS told the editors of CNET, which is owned by the company, that they could not review Aereo while the lawsuit was pending. CBS had previously told CNET it could not review or give an award to Dish Network’s Hopper DVR for similar reasons.
Moonves’ comment comes only weeks after News Corp.’s COO made a similar statement, saying that the company would have to consider making FOX a cable-only network if the broadcasters fail in their bid to stop Aereo.
“This is not an ideal path we look to pursue, but we can’t sit idly by and let an entity steal our signal,” the COO said at the time. “If we can’t do a fair deal, we could take the whole network to a subscription model.”