Aereo has been making waves of late, winning an important court decision yesterday in its massive legal battle with network broadcasters over the legality of Aereo’s live streaming/DVR system that brings HD video content to any of your devices for a pay-as-you-go option or monthly subscription cost. Plus, rumors have been swirling lately that Aereo may be in talks with major ISPs and TV providers like Dish, DirecTV, and AT&T.
The table in the conference room on the sixth floor of the IAC headquarters in Manhattan was a portrait of organization. In front of each of the 10 chairs was a leather case holding a fresh tablet of paper, with a sharpened pencil placed above it, just so. Everything in “the Helm,” as they call the room, was precise, orderly, logical. Just the way Barry Diller likes it.
Aereo today announced that the cloud DVR/live TV streaming service will be expanding past New York City to more than 19 million people living in the surrounding NYC metropolitan area. The expansion will cover 29 new counties across New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Pennsylvania. Before today, only residents in New York’s five boroughs had access to the service.
Alongside the announcement of expansion, Aereo has also said that its new advertising blitz will launch this week in New York. The multimillion-dollar ad campaign was first revealed earlier this month, after Aereo hired former Apple exec, Alex Moulle-Berteaux, as the company’s new CCO.
According to the NY Daily News, the multimillion-dollar ad campaign will show its face on billboards, phone kiosks, buses, ferries and commuter trains in and around the greater New York area. The company even nabbed a spot on Penn Station’s massive digital advertising wall.
The digital revolution has disrupted most traditional media: newspapers, magazines, books, record companies, radio. And what about television? Before the Internet, cable technology disrupted broadcast television, offering viewers many more channel choices. Today, some believe that the foremost threat comes from a technology that allows viewers to zip past ads (the Dish network’s Hopper technology, for one). Some believe it will come from Netflix and Amazon, which threaten to produce enough original programming to rival pay cable channels like HBO and Showtime, and offer entire seasons that can be watched when the viewer, not the network, chooses.
My TV-disruptor candidate is a silver antenna the size of a dime. The tiny device is produced by Aereo, a technology company that houses thousands of these miniature antennas in data centers. They send TV signals over the air, from conventional broadcast networks like ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, and PBS. The signals are streamed to customers, either live or to record for later viewing, on mobile phones, tablets, or set-top boxes, like Apple TV. For a monthly charge of eight to twelve dollars, or an annual charge of eighty dollars, a subscriber receives about thirty channels.
The service, which began in New York City last year, menaces television because it subverts their business model. The broadcast networks receive about ten per cent of their revenue from cable companies, which are required to pay them a re-transmission consent fee for displaying their programs. Aereo, however, pays them nothing.
Aereo has been making headlines lately, not only for expanding its streaming cloud DVR service to 22 new markets in the coming months, but for being in active litigation with some of the nation’s biggest and most powerful broadcast networks.
But founder Chet Kanojia isn’t going to let anything get the company down, which is why he’s bringing Alex Moulle-Berteaux to the Aereo team as Chief Commercial Officer. Alex was head of marketing and PR at Rockstar and a former marketing exec at Apple before that, so he certainly has the tech-centric marketing game down pat.
I spoke with both Alex and Chet about the challenges of marketing a service like Aereo, namely attracting users who are content with their cable service and TV to jump ship in favor of Aereo.
“We’re going up against a bunch of legacy behaviors here,” said Alex. “The key for us over time is to prepare the market for this new way of experiencing TV and play off of some of the frustrations associated with what’s currently out there.”
The marketing efforts will begin here in NYC next month, and using the data from that campaign, Aereo will then begin marketing in the 22 new markets that will be getting access to Aereo soon.
Brooklyn-based Aereo lets subscribers watch and record over-the-air TV anywhere they go on computers, iPhones or iPads. The service is available for now in New York City but will soon be unveiled in dozens more cities across the country for $1 a day or $8 a month.
Media attention to the service has focused primarily on the legal dispute between Aereo and TV broadcasters who have tried, and so far failed, to shut it down. The legal controversy is real but also overshadows the implications of the service for TV viewing and the technological wizardry that makes Aereo work. (Aereo founder and CEO Chet Kanojia will be speaking at our paidContent Live event in April.)
To get a better idea of just how Aereo is serving up TV, we went to the company’s plant in Brooklyn to get some up-close photos.
Aereo is quite possibly the most disruptive company to come out of New York since Kickstarter. The startup, founded by serial founder Chet Kanojia, brings live and recorded TV content direct to your Internet-connected devices for as low as $8 per month.
In a world where retrieving free over-the-air signals with rabbit ears is an extinct idea, Aereo has shrunken the rabbit ears down to the size of a fingertip, hosted them remotely, and enabled New Yorkers of all walks of life to get their TV fix for cheaper.
We spoke to Kinojia onstage at CES, and he explained why major broadcasters and networks are so upset about the launch and success of his company. As technology advanced from rabbit ears to cable to satellite and so on, the price of these services steadily rose.
Aereo's innovative broadcast TV streaming service will be expanding to 22 more cities this year, according to a report from All Things D. The company announced this expansion at the same time as it dropped details on a new $38 million round of funding that'll help finance this expansion. Now that the service is moving beyond New York City, Aereo also said that users will only be able to pull in local channels — so you won't be able to get Chicago's programming from Boston, for example. As for when the rollout will begin, Aereo says the first new cities will go live in late spring, though we're not sure which cities will receive the service first.
Thus far, streaming TV service Aereo has stayed squarely focused on local network TV channels, but that is just starting to change. According to The Wall Street Journal, Aereo has added its first cable channel in the form of Bloomberg TV.
Aereo network streaming TV service recently launched a new Bloomberg TV channel, marking the first content licensing deal inked by the New York-based startup. We sat down with Chet Kanojia, CEO and founder of Aereo to discuss licensing new content, expansion, and the current court case involving Aereo and major network TV broadcasters.
There is an infamous attack ad from the 1970s that opens with a montage of a devil, a vampire, and Frankenstein's monster — and then shifts to a terrifying, anthropomorphized cable box. The angry cable box has red eyes and a wide row of shark-like teeth, which it gnashes as a paternal-sounding announcer warns viewers to stay away from cable: "Don’t let pay TV be the monster in your living room!”
Received $4.5M Series Seed Funding
FirstMark Capital, High Line Venture Partners, SV Angel, First Round Capital, Highland Capital Partners
Founded by Chet Kanojia and backed by Barry Diller's IAC, Aereo has been drawing a lot of attention lately. The startup uses mini-antennae to capture video content from ABC, CBS, NBC (and other public broadcasting networks), and streams that content to its subscribers' web-connected devices. A yearly subscription costs 17-cents a day.
Aereo has unveiled new pricing plans for its streaming television services in preparation for its expansion beyond New York City. This move comes less than a month after a judge refused to grant an injunction filed by several major TV content providers that would shut down the service. Aereo previously offered a flat rate of $12 per month, but now has a variety of new tiers ? including a "try for free" option that allows one hour of continuous streaming for free every day, without the hassle of putting your credit card on file. The site also has a $1 per day option in case you're only interested in watching, say, the Super Bowl, and comes with three hours of DVR storage, accessible for ten days.
Aereo Press Launch
Aereo: How the Streaming TV Service Works
Earlier today, Barry Diller introduced Aereo, a company backed by IAC, at a press conference in New York City. Aereo streams broadcast TV to your browser and provides a DVR in the cloud by miniaturizing TV antennas and packing them in equipment that sits on the network. In the video above, which we took at the event, you can see Diller's opening remarks and part of CEO Chaitanya Kanojia's presentation. At the end, I grabbed Diller on camera to ask him how does this expand beyond just broadcast channels to cable and beyond.
Barry Diller, who created the Fox television network almost 30 years ago, now wants to free it and other networks from the chains of what he calls the "closed cable-broadcast-satellite circle."
Tap water is free, yet Americans spend billions of dollars every year for the convenience of drinking the same thing out of bottles. The founders of a new digital video service are betting the same logic can be applied to another free commodity: broadcast TV.
Live Broadcast TV, meet the Internet. Finally.
Received $20.5M Series A Funding
Participation IAC, FirstMark Capital, First Round Capital, High Line Venture Partners, Highland Capital Partners
Cord-cutting had cable companies worried. Between Netflix, Hulu, Amazon and iTunes, there seemed to be little reason for savvy consumers looking for video entertainment to continue to pay their $100 monthly bills. But the exodus never happened. Why? Live broadcasts. Cut the cord and suddenly you're missing the American Idol finale, the World Series and the Super Bowl. Despite all the new digital options, total U.S. cable subscribers are holding steady at around 100 million.
Your iPad can do lots of things, but live TV generally isn't one of them. With a few exceptions, the TV networks don't want their programming going out live anywhere but your big screen, under their supervision. Here’s a start-up that wants to change that: Bamboom says it will let you watch live broadcast TV anywhere you can get a Web connection, on whatever device you want.