Supreme Court handicapping: Aereo vs. Broadcasters

Aereo gets its day in the Supreme Court next week as it takes on a powerful group of broadcasters (DIS, CMCSA, CBS, FOXA) and the U.S. Solicitor General's office.

Legal experts are deeply divided on which direction the court will rule in what could be a landmark case for the media industry. Justice Ginsburg is expected to side with the broadcasters and agree that Aereo violates copyright law, while Justice Breyer is tapped to side with Aereo. The other 7 justices are considered a bit of a tossup.

What to watch: A win by Aereo could lead to a pricing war in the pay-TV industry (CHTR, TWC, CVC, DISH, DTV) due to the low monthly fee ($8-$12/month) it charges to customers. A thriving Aereo could also prompt one of the major providers to unbundle its network packages to move to a la carte pricing. Content providers (DISCA, AMCX, VIAB, SNI, TWX, CRWN,MSG) will be watching the developments closely.

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Comments (5)
  • Sam_987654321
    , contributor
    Comment (1) | Send Message
    "The other 7 justices"? Are you guys aware that one justice is sitting out? And furthermore, since the lower court's favorable ruling for Aereo will stand in the case of a tie, Aereo only needs 4 (out of 8) votes in its favor. Looking at it purely from a statistical perspective, the odds are that Aereo will win, not that it is a "tossup".
    15 Apr 2014, 02:06 PM Reply Like
    , contributor
    Comments (162) | Send Message
    Not anymore.
    18 Apr 2014, 08:55 AM Reply Like
  • Lord Baltimore
    , contributor
    Comments (188) | Send Message
    I'm not sure why the cable companies would revert to a price war if Aereo wins since Aereo only provides over the air channels not popular cable networks (ESPN, HBO, etc). In fact, if I am not mistaken the cable companies will simply begin deploying their own antenna farms to provide OTA content just as Aereo does only as part of their package and stop paying station owners retrans fees. This would lower the MVNOs costs if anything. The losers if Aereo wins in the Supreme Court is the over-the-air broadcasters not the cable/satellite operators.
    15 Apr 2014, 06:03 PM Reply Like
  • Bartleby
    , contributor
    Comments (72) | Send Message
    Aereo will lose. It is illegal to redistribute copyrighted material for profit, regardless of how cute your methods. Following the ruling, I expect Aereo executives will receive prison sentences for conspiricy to break federal law.
    16 Apr 2014, 05:32 AM Reply Like
  • daninfw
    , contributor
    Comments (8) | Send Message
    If Aereo wins, current contracts will keep cable and dish companies paying retrans for years to come. By then the broadcasters have dozens of possible scenarios to deliver their content......and it won't be free. The loser in this will be the consumer. If broadcasters don't get paid for their valuable content you will have to pay for it as a cable channel or your "free" tv will just be talk shows and re-runs. Aereo can't be allowed to win. Congress IMVHO would step in.
    18 Apr 2014, 10:10 AM Reply Like
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