This Day On The Street
Continue to site right-arrow
ADVERTISEMENT
This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here
Stocks Under $10 with 50-100% upside potential - 14 days FREE!

Aereo Goes to Sundance Despite Supreme Court Date

Stocks in this article: CBS FOXA CMCSA DIS TWX NFLX, AMZN, AMCX

PARK CITY, UTAH (TheStreet) -- Chet Kanojia's entire business could be shuttered by the end of the year, but that didn't prevent the Aereo CEO from dropping in on the Sundance Film Festival to court independent filmmakers as part of his search for new content.

Aereo, an online platform that streams television networks, will be a focus of Supreme Court debate later this year when a case brought by CBS (CBS), 21st Century Fox (FOXA), Disney (DIS), owner of ABC, and Comcast (CMCSA), owner of NBC, may determine whether the company can continue to rebroadcast over-the-air TV signals to its Internet-based subscription service.

Kanojia would like to make Aereo a low-cost destination for Indie film, a sort-of alternative to Netflix (NFLX).

"We've started with a technology that lets consumers get broadcast TV, but ultimately as we open that platform to new creators and new business models, it could be a pretty attractive aggregation point," Kanojia said in an interview Friday at Sundance. "We think creators need a new platform."

The life cycle of independent film usually begins with a theatrical release, and if the film does well, it may receive a spin on a cable TV network such as AMC Networks' (AMCX) IFC, or for documentaries, Time Warner's (TWX) CNN. Increasingly, the end-game in distribution is video-on-demand, the film industry's fastest growing source of revenue and a business where Netflix has become the biggest player. Time Warner's HBO GO, Hulu, Amazon (AMZN) and Apple's (AAPL) iTunes are also buying films as each tries to acquire more content to match their audience's tastes.

Over time, Kanojia hopes to make Aereo, which he founded, a destination for filmmakers looking for a place to show their work. Seeking alliances with Indie film would appear to make sense for Aereo given that many of the largest Hollywood studios -- Comcast (Universal) and Disney -- are owned by the same companies trying to put Kanojia out of business.

The Indie film market is in a transition as VOD sales rise and theatrical attendance tilts to largescale "event" movies as Hollywood continues to emphasize sci-fi thrillers, sequels and dramas with well-known stars. Alternative to Netflix could give filmmakers more choices and the possibility of more favorable revenue-sharing arrangements.

"Our perspective is that people who create can determine what the financial terms look like," Kanojia said. "People who create should be able to determine what they put in front of consumer and how they do it, so I think that will be a slightly different approach that what you see." 

Aereo's future, though, ultimately rides on the Supreme Court. The court is expected to take up the case later this year with a ruling either in the fall or in early 2015. The networks argue Aereo is stealing their content and illegally charging consumers to watch their programming. Kanojia counters that Aereo is providing a service by making publicly owned TV signals available to consumers whenever and wherever they want it.

Aereo recently began operating in Cincinnati, the 11th U.S. market where the service is available. Kanojia said Aereo will be available in as many as four additional markets by the end of March. The pending Supreme Court case, he said, hasn't slowed the company's expansion plans.

"The only way we sleep at night is that we believe in the merits of our position and we think it's a fair system and it will prevail on its merits," Kanojia said. "Of course, the future is unwritten so all we can do is put our blinkers on and execute."

-- By Leon Lazaroff in Park City, Utah

Select the service that is right for you!

COMPARE ALL SERVICES
Action Alerts PLUS
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
  • Weekly roundups
TheStreet Quant Ratings
Try it NOW
Only $49.95/yr

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
  • Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Stocks Under $10
Try it NOW

David Peltier, uncovers low dollar stocks with extraordinary upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
  • Weekly roundups
Dividend Stock Advisor
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
  • Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Real Money Pro
Try it NOW

All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.

Product Features:
  • Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
  • Intraday commentary & news
  • Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Options Profits
Try it NOW

Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.

Product Features:
  • 100+ monthly options trading ideas
  • Actionable options commentary & news
  • Real-time trading community
  • Options TV
To begin commenting right away, you can log in below using your Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, OpenID or Yahoo login credentials. Alternatively, you can post a comment as a "guest" just by entering an email address. Your use of the commenting tool is subject to multiple terms of service/use and privacy policies - see here for more details.
Submit an article to us!

Markets

DOW 17,959.44 +154.64 0.87%
S&P 500 2,078.54 +7.89 0.38%
NASDAQ 4,781.4240 +16.0440 0.34%

Brokerage Partners

Rates from Bankrate.com

  • Mortgage
  • Credit Cards
  • Auto

Free Newsletters from TheStreet

My Subscriptions:

After the Bell

Before the Bell

Booyah! Newsletter

Midday Bell

TheStreet Top 10 Stories

Winners & Losers

Register for Newsletters
Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs