Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Can Aereo Kill The Broadcast Model?

Broadcasters seem up in arm about the disruptive force behind Aereo.  At its heart, it encourages cord cutting of cable for online access of broadcast signals.  "The start-up Aereo has been at the center of a storm in recent months because its technology threatens to blow-up the existing model of pay TV, which is based on selling viewers a bundle of channels, that include over-the-air stations like NBC, ABC, CBS and Fox."  But is the solution to fight or adapt? I propose adapting to the consumer.

Consumers want a TV Everywhere approach at a reasonable price; some don't want all the other cable networks and are happy with access to a limited base of networks.  So why not offer to your current cable and satellite distributors an authenticated model for access online of the broadcast signal.  Revise your agreements to enable a broadcast only tier of services at a limited price point.  If the concern is that Aereo will take away paying customers, then revise your model.

At the same time, a broadcasters' responsibility is to serve the community and over the air bandwidth came with certain requirements.  If it is free to receive through over the air antennas, then why shouldn't Aereo have the same right to use and repackage for consumers.  The signal is not changed in any way.  And it encourages more broadcast viewership, enabling higher ratings and higher ad revenues.  Still,  if you want to beat Aereo, then support an authenticated stream through current distributors.   A court battle is not the answer; a marketing and technological shift is what will best help broadcasters. 

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