There is a small start up called Aereo is retransmitting over the air broadcast signals on the internet for a fee. To skirt around certain laws, Aereo gives each of its customers an antenna. So, for a small fee, people can subscribe to this service on the internet and receive nice, high definition television.
Well, naturally, this has broadcasters really knotted up and in a major tizzy. Last month, Aereo won a major court case and was emboldened to expand. Currently, they are only in New York City, but have announced plans for Boston.
As a result of that court victory for Aereo, both Fox and CBS have publicly stated that they will – get this – go CABLE.
Going cable would, likely, be a bigger issue for Fox than CBS, but, both nets would lose a lot of viewers. And, at the same, one can imagine they will also lose programming (due rights having to be renegotiated for cable, something most producers have done for other companies) and revenue. If I were an advertiser, I would demand the much lower rates that most cable channels get versus broadcast television.
I kind of hope that CBS does go cable. About the only thing we watch on this network are Big Bang Theory and Survivor. Both of which I get, legally, via on demand, DVD, Hulu or the net’s own web site. The local CBS affiliate would then be free to put good programming on its airwaves.
Affiliates…oh, right…doesn’t CBS and Fox care about them? Are they so freaking shallow and scared of Aereo-which will fail, btw- that they would risk their own business? And would of the agreements they currently have? Hmmm….
In a recent statement, Les Moonves of CBS claims that they can go cable in a matter of a few days. This is something I find difficult to believe. He goes on to say that about ten percent of the country would NOT get the channel and those people will be upset. He says it like it’s a threat. Well, guess what…the courts do not care. And neither does the public. Unless its Sunday and they can’t get that football game. What’s that? The Internet…oh yeah.
Granted, broadcast television does not have much of a long term future, cable and the internet ARE the future of television, but, for the next ten to twenty years, broadcast television will still be here and watched by millions.
And, those millions are people that CBS and Fox cannot afford to piss off and lose. While I don’t care much for the gimmicky solution that Aereo came up with to skirt the law, I do think Barry Diller is correct about one thing: the Internet (or its replacement) IS where television is headed.
Personally, I don’t care anymore. Go cable. Disappear. Your programming will live on. With or with you, CBS.