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.