Why The Networks Are Really Afraid Of Aereo: Time Warner Cable Says It Might Offer Aereo-Like Service

from the getting-around-their-transmission-fees dept

The TV networks' fight against Aereo, including their recent hilarious threats to pull their networks off the air and put them on cable always seemed really exaggerated. Aereo is a tiny startup, with a questionable business model and not that many customers. It does some nice things, but how many people were really going to sign up? Of course, the truth is that the networks aren't that scared of Aereo itself, but if what they're doing is shown to be legal, others might follow. Others like... the big cable companies. Like Time Warner Cable.

Time Warner Cable's CEO, Glenn Britt, just admitted that they're watching the Aereo case closely, and might offer an Aereo-like service themselves, if Aereo continues to win its lawsuit.
“What Aereo is doing to bring broadcast signals to its customers is interesting,” Time Warner Cable chief executive Glenn Britt said in an interview with The Washington Post. “If it is found legal, we could conceivably use similar technology.”
There's a lot more behind the scenes here. Britt is posturing, in part, because every few months or so we see yet another flare up between the networks and various cable providers over how much the cable guys need to pay to retransmit the networks over their wires. If you have a TV service, you've probably lived through one of these fights, where you're told you might lose (and sometimes actually do) a popular channel for a while if the company doesn't come to its senses. Those fees have gone up and up and up and are a big part of why cable bills are so ridiculously high these days.

What Britt is now saying is that if Aereo is found to be legal, TWC would seriously consider offering their customers a similar service and then they could tell the networks to get lost the next time they demand a crazy amount to be included. This is why the networks are so freaked out about Aereo. They're not so concerned about that one company, but that the cable companies will finally realize they've been paying ridiculous sums of money to rebroadcast those channels, when they might be able to deliver the same content, legally, online for free.

Filed Under: cable, glenn britt, retransmission
Companies: aereo, time warner


Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread


  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 3 May 2013 @ 12:27pm

    Re:

    When did protecting profits of players refusing to innovate in their markets become a corner stone of the free market we supposedly espouse?

    Oh yeah, that's right, its not a free market and its tilted toward existing players, thus they have an intrinsic right to all future innovation in the industry and the profits from it.

    The is the system you so openly support.

Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here



Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter




Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Follow Techdirt
Insider Shop - Show Your Support!

Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads

Close

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.