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

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  1. icon
    Wally (profile), 3 May 2013 @ 6:48pm

    Re: Re: My favorite Part of the aritcle :-)

    One, if you had read any of my past comments, you would definitely know I am NOT working for a cable company. Two, Aero is a digital service of retransmission, and as the article points out (and myself) the benefits of this ruling are 10-fold mainly because cable companies are not the reason why your cable bill is so high. The entire reason cable bills are so high is because it is CABLE AND SATELLITE PROVIDERS have to PAY to retransmit things over the air freely that are already sent to them. Which means their end users also have to pay for those services en mass to make up the cost. Now in this case...because CBS is a lone broadcasting entity that is not owned by anyone else but CBS and it transmits signals over the air (OTA for short), it is currently charging or suing anyone who streams the freely sent OTA transmissions through their service...Time Warner has always been a proponent of streaming cable services to subscribers over the internet regardless of the network or provider a user is on...as long as you have a Time Warner account you can log in...Time Warner ha also been a major supporter of broadcasting news services OTA digitally and in analog format from the affiliated stations in their regions.

    The whole point is this...while we always complain that the cable and satellite companies have such high prices, we tend to forget that they too have to pay to bring the content they receive from broadcasters...the major network broadcasters demand higher and higher prices each year which is why prices go up for us users.

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