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CBS going "nuclear" over Aereo ?

03-11-2014, 10:41 AM

Wonder if this is just a bluff.


CBS chief says network could go all-Internet if Aereo wins

Les Moonves ratchets up the rhetoric around Aereo's Supreme Court case, building on past comments about moving programming to cable. CBS, he says now, could go "over the top."

CBS Chief Executive Leslie Moonves said Tuesday that his company's namesake broadcast network could go "over the top," or be delivered via the Internet, if Aereo's model of streaming over-the-air programming is ruled legal.

"If there are systems out there that try to hurt us, then we could go to OTT," he said, using the abbreviation for over-the-top Internet television delivery. "If Aereo should work, if they should win, which we don't think is going to happen, we could go OTT with CBS."

"If the government wants to give them permission to steal our signal, then we will come up with some other way to get them our content and so get paid for it," he said.

His comments come as the prospect of a digital pay-TV service appears closer than ever -- and yet still far away. It also ratchets up the rhetoric of executives like Moonves, who have said before that moving programming off the airwaves and onto a subscription service is an option should Aereo win.

CBS and other broadcasters are suing Aereo over its service using antenna and remote DVR technology to let subscribers watch live, local over-the-air television broadcasts, without making any payments to the creators of the programming. Though Aereo argues that its set-up with one antenna per user is legal, the broadcasters claim the service violates copyright. The two sides are set to argue the case to the Supreme Court next month.

CBS is the parent company of CNET.

Moonves and other network executives have raised the concept of moving programming off the air and onto subscription-based systems like cable as a response to Aereo possibly getting the legal go-ahead to keep operating long term.

However, such a move would be complicated by implications of its own. The government, for example, granted broadcasters valuable segments of radio-frequency spectrum to carry their signals decades ago, provided that they also offer programming that serves the common good. Moving programming off the airwaves could call into question their hold on spectrum they're using less and less.

The pursuit of digital pay-TV, long an aspiration for some of the biggest technology companies, advanced significantly last week as satellite television provider Dish Network unveiled a deal with the Walt Disney Co., owner of such networks as ABC and ESPN, that gave Dish the right to stream video, live and on demand, as part of an Internet-delivered television service. It represented the first content deal for an Internet pay-TV service to be made public so far, even as Sony plans to introduce a cloud-based TV service in 2014 and Verizon purchased Intel's project that developed technology for such an offering.

Still, the deal giving Dish the right to have Disney channels on a digital television service is a far cry from Dish actually offering one.

In the meantime, Aereo's Supreme Court case remains a question mark. Last month, a US district court granted the first preliminary injunction against Aereo out of the patchwork of lawsuits against the company, handing broadcasters their first clear legal win ahead of their Supreme Court appearance. The court's decision will affect Utah, Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Wyoming. Of the 11 cities where Aereo currently operates, Salt Lake City and Denver fall under the decision's scope.

Similar preliminary injunctions have been denied in the New York-based Second Circuit court of appeals and in Boston, something Aereo has touted as support for its legal status as it heads to the country's highest court.

03-11-2014, 11:17 AM
If CBS is not bluffing and ends up going "nuclear", wonder what this will mean for the streaming market.

If CBS goes completely to online streaming without any OTA, will the existing and near-future internet infrastructure be able to handle all that CBS streaming traffic?

For example, can the existing internet infrastructure handle all those live simultaneous 18 million weekly viewers of tv shows like NCIS, and other shows with 10+ million weekly viewers like CSI, Person of Interest, etc ... all in HD resolution? :rolleyes:

03-11-2014, 11:43 AM
In a scenario where Aereo definitively wins, will NBC, ABC, FOX, etc ... also go the streaming-only route without any OTA?

Will PBS be the only network left that is OTA ? :haha:

03-11-2014, 12:18 PM
Will never happen - CBS stands to lose tremendous ad revenue if they went to a subscription model - I bet they never keep their nfl contract.

Chris Gerhard
03-11-2014, 12:18 PM
Aereo isn't going to win. Recording and distributing copyright protected programming over the internet is a violation of copyright laws, the White House legal staff understands the obvious, issued an opinion, and so will the Supreme Court. The red herring, renting a tiny antenna, is a diversion nobody with any sense will pay any attention to.

03-11-2014, 01:40 PM
Aereo isn't going to win. Recording and distributing copyright protected programming over the internet is a violation of copyright laws, the White House legal staff understands the obvious, issued an opinion, and so will the Supreme Court. The red herring, renting a tiny antenna, is a diversion nobody with any sense will pay any attention to.

Nothing worth anything is free anyway. We all pay!

03-11-2014, 04:49 PM

HBO Go streaming service breaks down, allegedly due to very high demand for the finale episode of "True Detective".


Imagine if new first-run episodes of CBS shows like NCIS, The Big Bang Theory, etc ... become online-only. :rolleyes:

Total breakdown crash and burn central. :banghead:

Chris Gerhard
03-12-2014, 02:58 PM
I am completely befuddled with how all of the this internet streaming is going to be possible. Netflix started offering SuperHD a few months ago here and I started using it. I have been over 300GB/month each month since. I also have HBOGo now and since it uses less data and is even better programming than Netflix, I will use it more and my total data usage will go down. I use TiVo with OTA for the networks but if I did use the internet, a cloud DVR for OTA also, my usage would definitely go to around 500GB/month.

If Aereo negotiates rights to distribute programming over the internet and people start using it rather than an antenna, I agree the data usage would increase a lot. As things stand now, Aereo will be out of business next month unless it does find some way for a viable business by obtaining rights to distribute content. I don't think it is possible, the fees Aereo would have to pay and the subscription fee it would need to charge probably make the business DOA. At least Aereo will be able to sell the tiny antennas and recoup some small part of the investment.

Lee Stewart
03-12-2014, 06:11 PM
Aereo And The Law Of Unintended Consequences