The Broadcast Networks, in cahoots with an archaic government, have shut down Aereo for not being able to comprehend the fact that:
a) Aereo was simply renting antennas – enabling consumers to access free, legally broadcast HD signals, in addition to providing a cloud based DVR service.
b) As viewership across all Broadcast Networks declines, largely due to a younger generation not watching broadcast TV via expensive, bundled cable packages, Aereo was in fact increasing the Broadcast Networks ability to reach this generation while broadening the reach of their advertisers.
Now that Aereo has been designated by the court as being equivalent to a ‘cable TV system’, Aereo is now asking for the right to pay for access to the networks much like any cable operator. The Broadcast Networks have used unfair PR tactics to claim that Aereo is now changing their story, when in fact it was not Aereo but the government, with much lobbying by the networks, that gave Aereo this status. Now that Aereo is willing to accept this status, despite the bad PR against them, the government and Broadcast Networks are trying to block them once again, by denying the status of the court ruling.
The Broadcast Networks understandably want to protect their relationships with the cable operators given the fact that the majority of their revenue comes from them, however they are being short-sighted in not seeing the benefit of cloud delivery in addition to the opportunity to stream an unbundled service (a-la-carte) to a new generation that demands it.
So what is likely to happen? Despite the shenanigans to once again block Aereo, the court will have to uphold their ruling in designating Aereo as a cable operator. Aereo should then be able to pay for the right to stream each network on an a-la-carte basis and serve a new generation in the way that they want to buy and consume content. Unfortunately for the cable operators, this will force the unbundling of channels and the high price we pay for channels we don’t watch – but they cannot stop the inevitable. The sooner the cable operators accept the challenge and step up to compete, the better for them.