Aereo Competitors Moving In Following Supreme Court Ruling

The Supreme Court ruled against Aereo in a case brought by TV networks, citing violation of copyright laws. Aereo, which provided an Internet-based alternative to cable by capturing broadcast signals on tiny antennas and transmitting them to subscribers, has since suspended its operations. Meanwhile, rivals such as Simple.TV and Mohu are moving in, and hope to avoid the ruling by selling over-the-air antennas to their subscribers along with hardware to access streaming services.

“Eager for a piece of the $167 billion American television market, dozens of companies are offering options for the growing number of viewers known as cord cutters, who are canceling their traditional pay-television subscriptions,” reports The New York Times. “The providers range from Hulu, which the broadcasters own, to bigger services like Amazon, Google and Netflix, all of which offer cheaper streaming alternatives.”

videostreamMeanwhile, companies such as Mohu, Roku, Simple.TV, Sling Media and TiVo “sell hardware that allows viewers to stream television to digital devices or watch web video on television sets.”

“The main difference between these companies — which have not drawn the ire of broadcasters — and Aereo is that their customers own the antennas and capture signals in their homes, as opposed to remotely,” notes the article. Mark Ely, who launched Simple.TV, and Mohu founder Mark Buff “say they believe that will satisfy the requirement under copyright law that the transmissions be private performances, a position that Aereo argued unsuccessfully before the Supreme Court.”

The number of households in the United States subscribing to pay TV services has gone down about seven percent from 2013, while the number of these households that have replaced traditional TV with streaming services has climbed about 30 percent.

Cable and satellite companies are introducing new options to combat that threat.

“Comcast, the largest cable provider in the United States by subscribers, is offering cloud-based television-streaming technologies; an Internet Plus bundle that includes broadband, basic cable and HBO; and special packages for college students,” according to NYT.

Broadcasters are also offering to sell their programming to streaming companies to make a profit. “We are not against people moving forward and offering our content online and all sorts of places, as long as it is appropriately licensed,” said Les Moonves, chief executive of CBS. “Innovation is still alive and well and thriving.”

Meanwhile, Alki David is back with FilmOn, launching a new paid streaming package in 18 cities.

“FilmOn, a service that streams live TV and movies over the Internet, is reinventing itself as a cable company following last week’s Supreme Court ruling,” reports GigaOM.

“This time around, David is seizing on the Supreme Court’s words last week that streaming services like Aereo (and, by extension, FilmOn) are basically cable companies. In Alki David’s eyes, this means that the broadcasters must now treat FilmOn as a cable company by allowing it to use their signals in exchange for a fair royalty payment. He claims that FilmOn has long offered to pay but that the broadcasters have refused to negotiate with him — but now they don’t have a choice.”