CBS Once Again Threatens To Move Content Off The Air If Aereo Wins; Why Is That A Problem?
from the give-back-the-spectrum dept
As the Supreme Court gets closer to hearing the Aereo case, CBS appears to be ramping up the crazy rhetoric, with CEO Les Moonves once again threatening to take its content off of its over-the-air CBS flagship and move it elsewhere.
CBS Chief Executive Leslie Moonves said Tuesday that his company’s namesake broadcast network could go “over the top,” or be delivered via the Internet, if Aereo’s model of streaming over-the-air programming is ruled legal.
Of course, Moonves has made nearly identical threats in the past, promising a year ago that it might just move all its content to cable if Aereo won. Elsewhere, CBS has admitted that an Aereo victory wouldn’t really harm the company, and actually might spur some innovation.
As we pointed out last time, if CBS is really so clueless that it thinks abandoning the free handout it was given by the US government in terms of a massive chunk of spectrum is the right way to respond to something like Aereo (which only increases the viewers of its free, over the air broadcasts) well, then by all means go for it. I’m sure plenty of others would leap at the opportunity of making use of that spectrum, either for broadcasting other content, or putting it to even better uses.
If you haven’t seen it, you should take a quick peek at the spectrum allocation chart for the US. You’ll quickly notice that there are some giant blue blocks, compared to basically the entire rest of the chart which is divided into tiny, tiny pieces. Those giant blue blocks are the spectrum that the US government handed out for free to radio and TV broadcasters, in part with the promise that those companies would broadcast content for free for the public good. Here, Moonves is more or less admitting that, despite that free handout (worth many billions of dollars if that spectrum were to be sold on the open market) and despite the requirement that content be broadcast for the public good, he’s willing to throw all of that away, because a tiny startup is getting his programming to even more viewers? Really? Does he even realize how ridiculous that sounds?
Either way, as we said last time, it’s time to call his bluff. If little tiny Aereo will have him deserting that spectrum, why not ask him to hurry up so that we can put that spectrum to much better use.