Armstrong Pulls No Punches, Blackout Anniversary: Media Roundup
The finger-pointing and arguably bad publicity for both companies may be a boon for Aereo, the online TV service which CBS and its rival networks would like to see shut down. Nonetheless, Aereo CEO Chet Kanojia told TheStreet that the blackout reflects the inherent problems in an industry that sells packages of disparate channels to consumers who want alternatives to the cable-TV bundle.
"It is a commentary on the state of the industry and why alternatives should be recognized, embraced and permitted because it creates a vibrant market," Kanojia said.
Aereo faces the likelihood that the essence of its business, taking free-over-the-air broadcast signals and selling them to consumers for a monthly fee, will ultimately be decided in court. The case could go to a federal trial early next year in the Southern District of New York in Manhattan. Kanojia says the threat of that court case hasn't slowed Aereo's rollout. The company is planning on beginning service in Miami, Chicago, Houston and Dallas next month. Aereo can currently be accessed in New York, Boston, Atlanta and Utah."We believe that consumers have the ability to have an antennae, and Aereo is just a technologically fabulous way of a consumer having a remote antannae," he said. "Clearly [a court case] creates an impact, but if you look at the court's opinions thus far they are very detailed and comment on the merits of the technology and how we would prevail. So, we take good comfort in that and continue to invest in our buildout." Meanwhile, Time Warner Cable has lost 6.3% since the blackout began while CBS has declined 4.9%. Elsewhere, The Washington Post of the soon-to-be-renamed Washington Post Co. (WPO) announced a promotional campaign of 99 cents for the first month of all-digital access followed by a $9.99 charge for every four weeks thereafter. The promotion is part of a wider metered-paywall the Post put into effect in mid-June, and not tied to the newspaper's recently announced sale to Amazon's (AMZN) Jeff Bezos. Nonetheless, we expect Bezos to take similar actions to increase traffic at The Washington Post's handsome and well-functioning Web site. If Bezos has taught us anything, it's that online businesses are most effective when fewer obstacles exist to getting eyeballs. -- Written by Leon Lazaroff in New York >To contact the writer of this article, click here: LeonLazaroff.>.
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