CBS Says It Could Move To Cable In A 'Few Days' If Aereo Wins; Receives Several Offers To Help Pack Its Bags
from the a-forwarding-address-really-won't-be-necessary dept
CBS CEO Les Moonves has said before that he’s talked with New York cable operators about taking his network cable-only if Aereo is allowed to keep streaming what it broadcasts on the internet, but now he’s saying that he could make the switch in as little as a few days "if we are forced to.""Forced to?" What a small-minded, self-serving, overly dramatic "threat." I'll join Mike and a majority of our readers in inviting Moonves to go do exactly that ASAP. Stop arsing about in court and just take that shiny ball of yours and cram it into the overcrowded cable market and see exactly who notices your departure or arrival.
By taking free CBS broadcasts off the airwaves, Moonves says, "about 10 percent of America will not get our signal and I don’t think they will like that."And when people out there in flyover country (or wherever Moonves imagines this 10% lives) find themselves short a free TV signal, do you really think they're going to be pissed off at an antenna manufacturer whose only sin was its cord was "too long?"
In case Moonves might feel such a question purely rhetorical, allow me to point out the obvious: they will blame the station that went "off the air" for reasons even the courts are having trouble understanding. CBS will be the villain, along with FOX and whoever else decides the only way to compete in a market is to exit it.
And, yes, CBS is still claiming the courts will find "stealing" its precious signal "illegal." So far, this doesn't seem to be happening. If CBS really wants to play chicken with Aereo, I can only suggest it's not doing it nearly fast enough. Go ahead and give up the free airwave access and the enviable spot as a big fish in a rather limited pond and become just another number out of hundreds, distinguishable only by the number of executives suddenly grumpy they're running a cable channel rather than a network.
Even if Aereo cuts these channels out of retransmission fees from cable operators, who cares? This was the networks' short-sighted decision, one based on wringing money out of something they give away for free to anyone without cable. If Aereo is the cord-cutter's best friend, what does jumping to cable accomplish? If that's the scenario, CBS is better off losing the retransmission fees and staying on open airwaves where it takes nothing more than an antenna to access its programming, rather than exiling itself to a service people seem more and more willing to abandon.
If CBS thinks threatening to move to cable is going to turn the public against upstarts like Hopper or Aereo, it really has no idea what the public actually wants. It will simply turn itself into a lumbering villain at best and gone-but-barely-remembered also-ran at worst.