Up Is Down, Day Is Night, And Aereo's Shut Down Is 'Pro-Consumer' According To CBS CEO

from the and-by-pro-consumer-you-mean-pro-screwing-the-consumer dept

Les Moonves, CEO of CBS, was one of the more vocal network execs leading the charge against Aereo. He was the one insisting that CBS would move its content off of the public airwaves if Aereo won — to which many people said that sounded like a good idea, so that others could use that valuable spectrum. Of course, when talking to his investors, Moonves also admitted that an Aereo win would have no real impact on the company, revealing the truth of the matter.

Either way, it’s no surprise that he’d be delighted by the victory over Aereo. What gets ridiculous is when he claims that it’s a “pro-consumer thing.” How, exactly, is that the case? If you look at the comments from just about any Aereo user following Aereo’s decision to “pause” the service this weekend in the wake of the ruling, it certainly doesn’t look particularly “pro-consumer.” Aereo user and GigaOm writer Jeff Roberts has what might be the best explanation of how horrible this is for consumers:

But while CBS and ABC investors may be throwing around high fives at the sop from the Supremes, the average consumer just took a bath. Not only did the court just stick it to them by protecting the TV industry?s bundle rip-offs, consumers also lose access to a marvelous technology.

Aereo, you see, was different. It gave urban dwellers like me a cheap way to see over-the-air shows (which the broadcasters send out for free in the first place, don?t forget) on their computers and phones.

The service, to be sure, was from perfect. The show streams could be choppy, and in the case of sports, the short time delay could be frustrating ? I would sometimes learn about a goal on social media right before seeing it on Aereo. And it lacked the lazy, channel-clicking pleasure of TV.

But Aereo did point out what could be: a commonsense way to watch TV over the internet at a reasonable price. Now, we?re stuck instead with the TV industry?s over-priced bundles and, in the case of mobile, a confusing and convoluted ?TV everywhere? system that seeks to replicate an out-of-date form of linear TV watching that no one wants in the first place.

You can claim that the networks’ win in the Supreme Court was “good” for the broadcast industry (though I’d challenge that assertion too), but to claim in any way that it was “pro-consumer” is just clearly out and out ridiculousness by Moonves.

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Companies: aereo, cbs

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Comments on “Up Is Down, Day Is Night, And Aereo's Shut Down Is 'Pro-Consumer' According To CBS CEO”

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Violynne (profile) says:

It’s a Pyrrhic victory for CBS, who is only stalling the inevitable death of “broadcast” TV.

The problem is complex. Advertising revenue supports most of the shows over the air, yet no where near as profitable from a streaming service. Worse, these broadcasts are considered “free” by the public, which hasn’t been the case since the advent of TV (the “price” was dealing with ads).

I feel for CBS because it’s fighting a losing battle. Moonves may be making asinine claims, but so does everyone else who wasn’t born in the internet generation, including 9 people who really shafted everyone.

There’s so much back-scratching going on, it’s no wonder consumers are getting pissed.

But ultimately, they’re the ones at fault. If consumers would voice their opinion by ignoring the content produced by these companies, they will go away and stop suing everyone else.

Though, I doubt we’ll ever see consumers making the right decision. They can’t seem to live without their NCIS.

Consumers spend more time complaining than actually doing something about it.

For shame.

Josh in CharlotteNC (profile) says:

Re: Re:

I feel for CBS because it’s fighting a losing battle.

What battle?

CBS is a company, not a military fighting some war against an enemy that wants to kill them. All CBS needs to do to remain profitable is to supply consumers with a product or service that the consumers want at a price they are willing to pay. There is nothing but their own stubbornness stopping CBS from doing so.

andypandy says:

Re: Re: Re:

We should actually be saying a price that people can afford to pay, $50 a month to be able to watch GOT is crazy for anyone to pay even someone with tons of money.

If anything free content with advertising and other ways to generate income is the way to go, people have so much entertainment on the internet that is free and normally of higher quality than tv and they have to compete with that, if they do not it is their own downfall they will speed up.

Lets not even discuss movies, there are at most 10 movies a year that me and my wife watch or want to watch…that is only 15 hours of entertainment, why would i pay as much for those as i do for tv for a year, things are changing and it can only get better for consumers as monopolies fall by the wayside.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

” If consumers would voice their opinion by ignoring the content produced by these companies, they will go away and stop suing everyone else.”

Been there done that, turns out they didn’t listen. We had not watched OTA tv for years (we cannot get a digital signal due to buildings and trees despite being a few miles from the biggest transmitters in the region). We subscribed to Aereo. Now the advertisers will never get my eyeballs on their ads again.

ps it turned out there wasn’t much worth watching, but we have one sports fan in the hhold and that’s why we tried Aereo.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

‘It’s a Pyrrhic victory for CBS, who is only stalling the inevitable death of “broadcast” TV.’

Actually, cable TV is headed for a much quicker death than broadcast TV.

Cable TV prices have gone up 300% the last 11 years, that’s unsustainable. More and more young people are becoming ‘cord nevers’, and plenty others are becoming ‘cord cutters’ because the price has gotten too high for the value you get from cable TV subscriptions.

These are all very similar to the warning signs about the newspapers collapse. For years newspapers shrugged it off, and pointed to record profit numbers. But when newspapers finally fell, they fell very hard and very fast.

The same will happen for Cable TV, they’ll fall very hard and very fast when they do.

Broadcast TV may be losing viewers and money overtime, but they were nowhere near as profitable as cable TV. Hence they’ll likely hang on for a while in a slow decline, but cable TV won’t.

andypandy says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

Any reasonable businessman would be very happy with the profits from creating an isp and providing unlimited internet no caps no artificial slow periods no messing with peoples data streams…when the cable companies collapse their network will be bought up cheap and internet restored to much better levels than now.

nubwaxer (profile) says:


NCIS is a slick entertainment vehicle to indoctrinate us to believe that government agencies are cool because they can gain access to anyone’s private life details without any due process and that an armed intrusive police state is also cool. why wouldn’t we think the costs of this remarkable technology we see and well paid government police state are cool and in our best interests.

Anonymous Coward says:

Aereo lost for the simple reason that advertisers didn’t go to the networks and demand to know why the networks weren’t increasing their viewership (and hence, eyeballs on their locally-targeted ads) by using this distribution channels.

Viewers can bitch all they want. When have the networks ever cared about them?

Anonymous Coward says:

What gets ridiculous is when he claims that it’s a “pro-consumer thing.

It is pro-consumer, but not in a way that will please his investors, shrinking his customer bases will hasten the end. The more people that find out they can cut the cord and still get entertainment, the more advocates for cutting the cord there are promoting cord cutting. Actions like this can only promote Netflix over the TV companies.

That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Even if they were crazy enough to ask to pay the fee, they would get the super special “on the internet” fee that they just made up. It would be high enough to make them triple what they charged customers so that they could stay in business and make 2% profit.

Look at how much the music cartels wanted from online services even in the face of evidence it lowered copyright infringement.

That Guy says:

I've Got Better Things to do

I haven’t subscribed to any package for years. I was waiting for Aereo to come to town to try it out. The networks got their cry baby way. No loss to me, I’m still sitting at square one where I was before and a stronger resolution against the alphabet of broadcasters. Can’t they actually make themselves an actual name or is that just too hard to be that creative?

Anonymous Coward says:

i fully understand that the head of a company is going to do what he/she can to protect that company. however, when it reverts to total lies and bullshit threats that completely stop progress, it should be banned. what would have happened if the railroad had been banned from spreading ever eastwards in the 19th century? or solar panels had been banned because it made electricity that took the whole supply thing from the energy companies? there are a trillion things that have happened in the name of and the way of progress. some have been negative but almost all have not been. sometimes even a bad invention or discovery, with fresh eyes and brains involved actually turned out to be good. the problem is when you have politicians and judges who understand nothing or very little about the subjects they get stopped (or started, as the case may be), we end up in the position of stagnation.
i ask you, how the fuck can a cable system be the same, under any stretch of the stupid imagination, as an over the air system? what was needed here was people who were totally unbiased looking at each system and making the sensible conclusions, not a bunch of pre-paid law enforcers who get a bit of help from one side, particularly when the haven’t got a clue as to modern technology!

Anonymous Coward says:

It's the monitor from Brazil

In the movie Brazil (1987), set in a future from a slightly different past, the dystopian society has some technologies that are highly advanced (like state surveillance), and others that appear to have evolved from the wrong mutation.

Their computer monitors are the best example–a fifties-looking 9″ CRT with a giant magnifying glass in front of it.

It occurs to me that Aereo was the manifestation of that monitor–a completely convoluted solution to work within the arbitrary boundaries of a corrupted government.

Perhaps it is best that it failed, so that the problem of copyright must be addressed head on. It would be a shame to distort our technological future like that.

Anonymous Coward says:


I await the day (in a few years) that the mothballed shell of Aereo dusts off its patents and taxes the cable companies for their inevitable ‘innovation’ of sending locally broadcast TV channels to consumers over a longer cable/the internet in some fashion. The irony deposits should be sufficient to outfit a small fleet.

Zonker says:

I wonder whether CBS’s advertisers have noticed the sudden loss of at least a hundred thousand viewers since Aereo shut down and will respond accordingly. Individual TV shows get cancelled over smaller drops in viewership, so to me it looks like CBS just sunk their own ship.

As far as the people renting antennas from Aereo are concerned, CBS actually did follow through on their “threat” to stop broadcasting altogether. Can’t see how this benefits CBS, but consumers have a lot better choices available out there to choose from.

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