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Thursday, 26 June 2014

Aereo ruling

Well, the courts have spoken and - in my mind - were reasonable: Aereo is obliged to pay retransmission fees to the boradcasters. A summary of the case can be read in today's FT article. Some more clarifications can be read here.

Why reasonable? Because Aereo's capacity to charge such a low price to consumers is really only based on a specific interpretation of the current law concerning retransmission fees. It would have been unreasonable to allow Aereo freeride on the broadcasters content when cable networks have to pay billions for it.

Whether the existing law makes sense is another matter... If the broadcasters' model is based on free content for advertising why have the retransmission fees in the first place? With time, all content will move to the internet, which will be available anywhere (it is almost the case already). It is not clear then that we need broadcasters at all (in the sense of using radio waves to deliver content). In fact, many of them are part of large media conglomerates wondering about the future of the TV ecosystem. Broadcasters in their original form are likely to be the past...