Copyright

by Mike Masnick


Filed Under:
consumers, copyright, innovation, les moonves

Companies:
aereo, cbs



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bundles and, in the case of mobile, a confusing and convoluted “TV everywhere” system that seeks to replicate an out-of-date form of linear TV watching that no one wants in the first place.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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  • icon
    Violynne (profile), 30 Jun 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.

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

    • icon
      Josh in CharlotteNC (profile), 30 Jun 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.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 30 Jun 2014 @ 11:57am

        Re: Re:

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

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

      • identicon
        andypandy, 30 Jun 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.

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

    • icon
      pixelpusher220 (profile), 30 Jun 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.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 30 Jun 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.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 30 Jun 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.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 30 Jun 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 chronology ]

        • icon
          jupiterkansas (profile), 30 Jun 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 chronology ]

          • identicon
            andypandy, 30 Jun 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.

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

  • icon
    rw (profile), 30 Jun 2014 @ 7:56am

    What's NCIS?

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 30 Jun 2014 @ 9:28am

      Re:

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

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 30 Jun 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.

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

    • identicon
      nubwaxer, 1 Jul 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 chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 30 Jun 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?

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 30 Jun 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.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 30 Jun 2014 @ 9:55am

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

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

    • icon
      Mike Masnick (profile), 30 Jun 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...

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 30 Jun 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.

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

        • icon
          Mike Masnick (profile), 30 Jun 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...

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

    • icon
      John Fenderson (profile), 30 Jun 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.

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

    • icon
      That Anonymous Coward (profile), 30 Jun 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.

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

      • icon
        AzureSky (profile), 30 Jun 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.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 30 Jun 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?

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

    • icon
      techflaws (profile), 30 Jun 2014 @ 10:10pm

      Re:

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

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 30 Jun 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 chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous, 30 Jun 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

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 30 Jun 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.

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

  • identicon
    That Guy, 30 Jun 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?

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

  • icon
    Ninja (profile), 30 Jun 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".

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 30 Jun 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!

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 30 Jun 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...

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 30 Jun 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 chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 30 Jun 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.

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

    • identicon
      andypandy, 30 Jun 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.

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

  • icon
    gorehound (profile), 1 Jul 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 !

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

  • identicon
    Zonker, 2 Jul 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 chronology ]


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