Today, the Supreme Court of the United States found that Aereo infringed on copyright protections afforded the broadcast networks. Chief investor Barry Diller declared that the decision was the end of Aereo. Pundits are weighing in on the consequences of the decision. Many are declaring the Broadcasters the Big Winner. Others claim Big Cable is the beneficiary. They are all wrong.
Aereo was the biggest loser today. They had a profitable business model and it’s gone. Aereo’s customers were losers as well. Investment in Rokus are sunk money and they have to put up an antenna or crawl back to their premium provider.
Broadcasters won nothing. They did not secure additional carry fees and they lost eyes for their advertisers. In the end, they may wish Aereo had prevailed.
The premium providers were also losers. They still have to pay fees and this will not slow the momentum of cable cutting. In fact, this may alienate more people who feel the FCC and the courts are in bed with Big Media.
The Supreme Court was a loser. Their decision was nonsense. They came down on the side of Big Media “because I say so.” Their arguments were unconvincing and the decision exposed the institution as an instrument of Big Business. An institution that has failed the country and its people lowered itself further.
Who were the winners? That’s easy — Channel Master, Mohu, Simple, Tablo, and all of the other vendors invested in broadcast television. These are the guys who were going to be disrupted by OTA-over-OTT services. They are the clear winners. With today’s decision, consumers hate the cable company a little more, trust the government a little less, and are a little more interested in putting an antenna in their attic.
Believe it or not, cable cutters were winners. The internet was not designed to support streaming media and there is little bandwidth available to significantly increase the number of households streaming or the amount of time they stream — never mind 4k video. When primetime and special events prove to be unsatisfactory (buffering, dropped connections), people will move on. Forced to install an antenna, cable cutters will enjoy a better picture and more reliable service with no fees at all. Expect to see a lot of antennas growing out of rooftops