TV Streaming Startups Forge Ahead, Guided by Aereo Ruling

Monday, 30 Jun 2014 09:41 AM

By Melanie Batley

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Digital television streaming companies are forging ahead with their services following the conclusion of a Supreme Court case against Aereo Inc., despite the media company's loss in a copyright dispute brought on by traditional broadcasters.

According to The New York Times, with clearer legal parameters for service delivery, dozens of digital media startups plan to move forward with innovations that offer ways to watch traditional cable broadcasting for a fraction of the cost.

"If cable companies believe that their old ways of doing business are protected by the Aereo Supreme Court decision, they are clearly misguided," Dan Nova, a partner at Highland Capital Partners, one of Aereo's backers, told the Times. "Consumers are rejecting cable companies and traditional consumption models. The horse is out of the barn."

Aereo was at the forefront of efforts to revolutionize the traditional cable business model by providing subscribers with streaming using its own antennas to capture broadcast signals and rerouting them to private antennas.

The court ruled Aereo's model was a violation of licensing, but a number of companies provide television services by selling hardware that allows viewers to stream through their televisions and Internet-connected devices. More companies now plan to wade in with their own innovations and the backing of venture capitalists.

"I don't think you are going to find a silver bullet to disrupt the broadcast industry," Kenneth Lerer, a venture capitalist who has invested in a series of digital media startups, told the Times. "I think you are going to find a lot of little bullets. Aereo was hoping it was a silver bullet."

Meanwhile, an increasing number of consumers are taking up the new options available. Since 2013, the total number of households that use the Internet or other streaming services instead of traditional television has jumped 30 percent, and there has been a 7 percent decrease in those subscribing to pay-television services, the Times reported.

With the increased competition, cable and satellite companies are introducing more economical packages with increased digital options in a bid to retain their share of the $167 billion American television market, the Times reported.

"The television establishment still has much to worry about after its Supreme Court victory," the Times noted.

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