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bundles and, in the case of mobile, a confusing and convoluted “TV everywhere” system that seeks to replicate an out-of-date form of linear TV watching that no one wants in the first place.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.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    icon
    Violynne (profile), Jun 30th, 2014 @ 7:22am

    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.

     

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  2.  
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    rw (profile), Jun 30th, 2014 @ 7:56am

    What's NCIS?

     

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  3.  
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    Josh in CharlotteNC (profile), Jun 30th, 2014 @ 8:54am

    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.

     

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  4.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 30th, 2014 @ 9:24am

    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?

     

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  5.  
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    pixelpusher220 (profile), Jun 30th, 2014 @ 9:26am

    Re:

    I wonder if Aereo could instead of renting the antennas...sell them directly to consumers and then simply charge a monthly maintenance fee for the upkeep of the network.

    If it's *my* antenna, then nobody is rebroadcasting anything.

     

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  6.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 30th, 2014 @ 9:28am

    Re:

    The number 1 rated show in America, a CBS show.

     

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  7.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 30th, 2014 @ 9:33am

    Re:

    A show that has run its course and suffers from the most despicable of Hollywood technology sins.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u8qgehH3kEQ

    I used to watch, but after things like the above link, I just could not deal with it any more, despite being fairly decent for its Drama elements.

     

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  8.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 30th, 2014 @ 9:35am

    Re:

    Which translates into Aereo not getting f*ckb*ddy enough with the advertisers!

     

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  9.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 30th, 2014 @ 9:53am

    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.

     

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  10.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 30th, 2014 @ 9:55am

    Here's a thought: Why doesn't Aereo pay the retrans fee and go right back into business?

     

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  11.  
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    Michael, Jun 30th, 2014 @ 9:56am

    Re: Re:

    That looks like a duck.

     

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  12.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Jun 30th, 2014 @ 9:58am

    Re:

    Here's a thought: Why doesn't Aereo pay the retrans fee and go right back into business?


    Because it's not clear they can. The ivi ruling found that a similar service can't just pay the fees...

     

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  13.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Jun 30th, 2014 @ 10:00am

    Re:

    Moonves has strongly implied that they would not grant any such license to Aereo. Also, that may not be something that customers would buy. I know that if I were using Aereo, I would certainly object to having to pay the broadcasters for what the broadcasters are providing at no cost.

     

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  14.  
    identicon
    Anonymous, Jun 30th, 2014 @ 10:04am

    I don't get it..

    Don't they make more money off of the advertising anyway? Why does does it matter? It doesn't cost them a dime, lol

     

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  15.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 30th, 2014 @ 10:11am

    Im saving some money! Thanks Fox/CBS

    It is a shame that I will no longer be buying anything from Fox or CBS (of which I have a good sized collection). But my bank account will appreciate it.

    I wonder if I will be able to find what I want to watch elsewhere???????? For free.

     

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  16.  
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    Mason Wheeler (profile), Jun 30th, 2014 @ 10:22am

    Re: Re:

    Wow. And I thought the "use Visual Basic to create a GUI interface and track an IP address" clip was bad, but this... o_0

     

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  17.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 30th, 2014 @ 10:54am

    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.

     

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  18.  
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    That Anonymous Coward (profile), Jun 30th, 2014 @ 10:57am

    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.

     

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  19.  
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    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Jun 30th, 2014 @ 11:00am

    Re: Re:

    Given this court, it may set the wrong precedence.

     

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  20.  
    identicon
    That Guy, Jun 30th, 2014 @ 11:07am

    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?

     

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  21.  
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    Ninja (profile), Jun 30th, 2014 @ 11:11am

    Well, we need to take a look on what the term "pro-consumer" means in their dictionary. Last time it seemed to mean "a move, feature (or lack of) that annoys the consumer while being completely dumb and promoting piracy".

     

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  22.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 30th, 2014 @ 11:14am

    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.

     

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  23.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 30th, 2014 @ 11:29am

    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!

     

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  24.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 30th, 2014 @ 11:48am

    Re: Re:

    This is from The Wrap:

    "The Seattle-based ivi launched a service in 2010 offering packages of TV signals from broadcasters to ivi subscribers — without compensating broadcasters for the retransmissions. Ivi was charging its own customers $4.99 a month for the streaming service while refusing to pay the shows' owners.".

    It seems, according to the above that Ivi was not paying at all or not paying everything that was due.

     

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  25.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 30th, 2014 @ 11:57am

    Re: Re:

    All CBS had to do was enjoy the expansion of (ad) viewership that Aereo provided it free of charge.

     

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  26.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 30th, 2014 @ 12:00pm

    It's a loss for advertisers too. Think of all the Aereo subscribers no longer able to view their ads. If anything, CBS could have probably charged more for their ad slots by pointing to additional Aereo viewers.

    It's not like Aereo was removing broadcast network ads and inserting their own. Like cable networks do...

     

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  27.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 30th, 2014 @ 12:01pm

    Re:

    Why don't they pay Aero for boosting their signal, reaching folks that networks can't be bothered to reach?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  28.  
    icon
    AzureSky (profile), Jun 30th, 2014 @ 12:21pm

    Re: Re:

    sorry you are incorrect, 2% profit is to high, these companies dont want any internet service to make a profit off their content, hence the feuds many of them have had with netflix over fees.

     

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  29.  
    identicon
    JEDIDIAH, Jun 30th, 2014 @ 12:22pm

    Quack Quack

    I can put my HD-Homerun in a datacenter.

    Is that a duck too?

    That's the problem with the current court. They make up really bad rules and like to pull things from their nether regions.

     

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  30.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 30th, 2014 @ 1:10pm

    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.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  31.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 30th, 2014 @ 1:25pm

    Re:

    how much would they have to increase prices to do that. how many people would leave their service due to increased prices?

     

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  32.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 30th, 2014 @ 1:25pm

    Irony

    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.

     

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  33.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 30th, 2014 @ 1:32pm

    Re: Re:

    There is a problem with when and if the cable companies collapse, what happens to the Internet connections they provide. Also expect harder caps on connections, and or bad streaming connections, as they try to protect their cable business.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  34.  
    icon
    jupiterkansas (profile), Jun 30th, 2014 @ 2:04pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    If they can take the internet down with them, they will.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  35.  
    icon
    Mike Masnick (profile), Jun 30th, 2014 @ 4:46pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    It seems, according to the above that Ivi was not paying at all or not paying everything that was due.


    That's wrong. Read the actual ruling, in which everyone agrees that ivi was paying compulsory rates under Section 111. But the court said they were ineligible for that exception to copyright law, because they're not a "cable systems."

    Key quote:


    Congress did not, however, intend for Section 111's
    compulsory license to extend to Internet transmissions.
    Indeed, the legislative history indicates that if Congress
    had intended to extend Section 111's compulsory license to
    Internet retransmissions, it would have done so expressly --
    either through the language of Section 111 as it did for microwave
    retransmissions or by codifying a separate statutory
    provision as it did for satellite carriers. See 17 U.S.C.
    §§ 111, 119.

    Extending Section 111's compulsory license to Internet
    retransmissions, moreover, would not fulfill or further
    Congress's statutory purpose. Internet retransmission
    services are not seeking to address issues of reception and
    remote access to over-the-air television signals. They
    provide not a local but a nationwide (arguably
    international) service.

    Accordingly, we conclude that Congress did not
    intend for Section 111's compulsory license to extend to Internet retransmissions.


    In other words, an internet company is not eligible to just pay compulsory retransmission fees...

     

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  36.  
    identicon
    andypandy, Jun 30th, 2014 @ 5:16pm

    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.

     

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  37.  
    identicon
    andypandy, Jun 30th, 2014 @ 5:21pm

    Re: Re: Re: 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.

     

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  38.  
    identicon
    andypandy, Jun 30th, 2014 @ 5:30pm

    Re: Irony

    Wow you hit the nail on the head here, I seriously hope that aero has a shitcan full of patents it can use against the cable companies and broadcasters I could see many supporting them trolling the networks and demanding payments for every channel they put on the internet that uses even a small patent.

     

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  39.  
    identicon
    tanj, Jun 30th, 2014 @ 5:50pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Would an internet company be eligible to just pay compulsory retransmission fees if they looked like a duck?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  40.  
    icon
    techflaws (profile), Jun 30th, 2014 @ 10:10pm

    Re:

    Here's a thought: why pay for something that's free?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  41.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 30th, 2014 @ 11:05pm

    Re: Re:

    Because if you refused to be fleeced then you're a filthy pirate.

    Obviously there are idiots who think the above is true, like the OP.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  42.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 1st, 2014 @ 5:29am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Ok, thanks. Now it makes sense.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  43.  
    icon
    gorehound (profile), Jul 1st, 2014 @ 11:35am

    Pro-Consumer Decision meaning that we Consumers can now dump your MAFIAA SHIT and Boycott away.You have helped our cause out greatly and I anticipate even more haters of the MAFIAA to join our ranks.

    MAFIAA Free for around a Decade now and am very happy !

     

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  44.  
    identicon
    nubwaxer, Jul 1st, 2014 @ 1:12pm

    Re: NCIS

    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.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  45.  
    identicon
    Zonker, Jul 2nd, 2014 @ 1:18pm

    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.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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