So there’s this service called Aereo that streams broadcast television (you know, the stuff that you can get for free on your TV) on the web for a monthly fee. The “Fab Four” networks (Fox, CBS, UPN, and the DuMont Network) aren’t too happy about it, since none of that monthly fee is going to them. It also undermines the princely retransmission fees they get from cable & satellite providers, because then a cable company could say to them “hey, that internet service gets your content for free, why can’t we?” and they don’t really have a good answer to that. Naturally, they tried to sue Aereo out of existence, except it didn’t work out because the courts say Aereo is a-okay-o.
Well, Fox isn’t having any of that. A guy from their parent company News Corp. is straight up threatening to take the Fox network off the air and have it become a cable company if Aereo is allowed to continue operating:
“We need to be able to be fairly compensated for our content,” Carey said. “This is not an ideal path we look to pursue, but we can’t sit idly by and let an entity steal our signal. We will move to a subscription model if that’s our only recourse.”
…he said, twirling his whimsical mustache evilly. Does News Corp. train its executives to sound like supervillians or does it come naturally to them?
This move would leave millions of viewers who watch via antenna (many of them economically disadvantaged) deprived of their favorite Fox shows like The Cleveland Show and The Following. If the other networks follow Fox’s lead, this could mean The End of Television As We Know It.
In a weird twist, Aereo is backed by Barry Diller, the founder of the Fox network who the evil corporate plutocrat Mr. Burns is partially based on. Is he a bad enough dude to bring down the very network he created??? Only time will tell…. [Bloomberg]