Broadband Cable Association of Pennsylvania

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December 14, 2012

Online-television startup Aereo has begun paying for traditional TV content, reaching a deal to add Bloomberg TV to its program lineup.

Aereo, backed by media mogul Barry Diller's IAC/InterActiveCorp, launched a Web TV service earlier this year that streams broadcast TV signals of New York stations to New York residents for a monthly fee. But the launch created an uproar within the television world, as Aereo didn't get prior approval of the broadcasters and isn't paying for the right to carry their signals. As a result, the major broadcast networks sued Aereo in federal court in New York, alleging copyright infringement. The case hasn't been resolved. But Thursday, Aereo added its first cable channel by streaming Bloomberg TV content-with Bloomberg's permission. Aereo is paying Bloomberg for its content, the companies said, without disclosing the terms. "We believe that our members will see deep value adding in Bloomberg Television as their 'go-to' source for financial news," Aereo founder and Chief Executive Chet Kanojia said in a written statement. "We are pleased to have Aereo among our broadcast distribution partners," Bloomberg TV said. The Bloomberg LP unit doesn't have full distribution in traditional pay TV services, reaching 72 million homes, the company said. The universe of pay TV homes is about 100 million.

The addition of Bloomberg is part of a broader effort by Aereo to expand its service. Mr. Kanojia said recently that Aereo was pursuing more content deals with media companies to widen its streaming options over the Web. Aereo also said Thursday it plans to announce up to 15 new cities for the streaming service early next year. Meanwhile, Aereo and major broadcasters are awaiting a critical decision from an appeals court in their legal battle. Last month broadcasters argued their appeal of a lower court's decision in July denying the broadcasters' request for a preliminary injunction shutting down Aereo's service. Lawyers not involved with either side have said that it could take years for the case to be resolved. Without a preliminary injunction, Aereo has time to expand and streaming competitors also have a chance to emerge, lawyers have said. Wall Street Journal


Q: I recently signed up for Hulu Plus and I'm not totally happy about it. First off, I pay for the service, why do I still have to watch commercials? Also, some of my favorite shows - "30 Rock," "Happy Endings" and "60 Minutes" - aren't even offered. Why not? - Mike, 40, Pittsburgh

Rob: There should be no expectation that "60 Minutes" would be offered since it's not on regular Hulu (Hulu does not have a deal with CBS for its shows to appear on the site). But it is surprising that "30 Rock" and "Happy Endings," which are on regular Hulu, don't show up on Hulu Plus. Here's my understanding of that conundrum: Due to content rights issues, not all of the Hulu.com content is available on the devices that Hulu Plus plays on. It's a device issue and some content providers don't want their shows viewable on mobile platforms. That's why content available on Hulu.com is different from that offered on the Hulu Plus subscription service. Hulu says it includes ads on Hulu Plus to reduce the monthly subscription price. - Rob Owen's "TV Q&A" column in Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

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