By Jim Barthold, FierceCable, April 17, 2014
Aereo Founder-CEO Chet Kanojia probably didn't make any new friends within the cable industry when he told Yahoo News' Katie Couric that his company allows consumers "to think outside the cable bundle or the bundled approach" by breaking broadcast signals away from being packaged with cable channels.
"There's a market imbalance," Kanojia said. "Nobody loves their cable company."
While primarily concerned with his company's rocky relationship with broadcasters and Aereo's April 22 date with the Supreme Court to justify an over-the-air-for-a-fee TV service model, Kanojia also said that cable companies are "absolutely" pricing themselves out of the market.
For the most part, he said, this is because cable is caught in a web being spun by broadcasters that link their "crown jewel" over-the-air programming with cable channels.
"If you get these people (Aereo customers) an antenna, you would have half the value proposition in front of them--for a lot less money (than a pay TV service)," he told Couric. Broadcasters, he added, only want "to preserve the old business model."
Kanojia will get one final opportunity to present this case next week when Aereo goes before the Supreme Court. On the other side of the aisle, the broadcasters will be joined by the U.S. Solicitor General and Copyright Offices, who have said that Aereo's business model violates the copyrights of broadcasters that have paid to acquire, develop and transmit content. Kanojia said that he actually welcomed the opportunity to go before the nation's highest court because broadcasters were constantly attacking the company on a market and regional basis.
Well, I agree that "cable [TV industry] is caught in a web being spun by broadcasters that link their "crown jewel" over-the-air programming with cable channels."
But I'm not convinced that over-the-air programming qualifies for the "crown jewel" label.