Aereo CEO Talks Cable Partnerships

Mari Silbey —  March 1, 2013

Aereo hearts cable

People think of Aereo as a cable competitor, but the company’s real fight is with OTA broadcasters who don’t want to lose retransmission revenue. And if Aereo were to win its war in court, some pay-TV providers might very well decide to partner with the company rather than battle against it.

Jeff Baumgartner reports that the topic of cable partnerships came up this week at the annual NCTC winter conference. The National Cable  Telecommunications Cooperative is made up of independent cable operators, and Aereo’s CEO Chet Kanojia participated on a panel at the organization’s recent event. Reportedly Kenojia said Aereo would “take a very open approach with everyone we choose to work with,” and that he’d be “‘ecstatic’ to work with a like-thinking cable ISP.”

In other words, despite its marketing rhetoric, Aereo – like TiVo before it – would love to break into the cable biz.

Personally, I’m convinced that even if Aereo doesn’t win in court, it has other options for peddling its services. Beyond the now-famous dime-size antennas, Aereo appears to be operating sophisticated transcoding and video delivery technology. I imagine the Aereo solution is similar to what the TiVo Stream or Morega’s DirecTV Nomad device provides, except that the transcoding process takes place in the cloud rather than on a device in the home. The basic transcoding isn’t novel – plenty of companies offer transcoding services – but the ability to do it well and at scale is another thing entirely. Until all television content is transmitted in IP, Aereo has another potential technology ace up its sleeve, and plenty of patents to support it.

3 responses to Aereo CEO Talks Cable Partnerships

  1. Rinaldo Green March 3, 2013 at 2:53 pm

    OTA Broadcasters are charging satellite and cable subscribers for programming you can receive off your antenna for FREE! It would be different if the satellite and cable version of the broadcast channel was without commercials. It appears to me broadcasters are double dipping! Satellite and cable companies should drop all Over The Air Broadcast signals. Let the broadcasters pay Satellite and Cable Companies for carriage or share in the ad revenue!!!! If it wasn’t for Satellite or Cable companies the OTA broadcast signals would not reach many homes due to poor broadcast transmitters an terrain restrictions! TIME FOR A CHANGE!!!!! Broadcasters need to pay for transmission on Satellite or Cable!!!!!!!!

  2. Is this a smoke-screen blaming Aereo to be in cahoots with the cable companies and at the same time accuse Aereo to be at war with OTA? I thought free or low price meant that they would favor OTA and not the pricey and over- inflated cable operators. Does this make Aereo the Benedict Arnold or the hero that came to rescue the consumers? Will Aereo eventually climb the ladder to be with their pricey cable friends and do as cable does?? Are we being betrayed by Aereo??

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