Ad-Vantage Aereo?

The courts have yet to seal Aereo Inc.'s fate as the broadband TV/cloud DVR startup battles it out with broadcasters, but the company is pressing on with its first major marketing initiative in the New York metro. (See Judge Keeps Aereo On The Air.) Following the initial launch of print and outdoor ads and the announcement of a plan to expand services to 22 more markets, Aereo has stepped things up with its first commercial -- a fast-paced, 15-second spot that amplifies its "no cable required" tagline . BTIG Research analyst Richard Greenfield, one of the first to notice the spot, warned on his blog (registration required) that Aereo's aggressive expansion plans should make investors "increasingly concerned with the sustainability of [the] broadcaster retrans 'gravy train.' It may be about to hit a wall." Not that Aereo CEO Chet Kanojia really cares about that implication. "I spend 50 microseconds thinking about that stuff," he said at the recent National Cable Television Cooperative Inc. (NCTC) Winter Educational Conference (WEC) conference, when asked to address how Aereo's presence might help cable operators keep retransmission fees in check. "My goal is to create a platform." But keep an eye on how Aereo's "no cable required" messaging evolves. Kanojia said he's also open to working with cable operators and other ISPs on the belief that an Aereo-bundled offering could create a "more compelling" broadband product. (See Aereo: Cable Partner? ) The chances of that strategy working seem slim, though it might be the most attractive to independent MSOs that are feeling the pinch of skyrocketing programming costs even more than the major pay-TV operators. Coincidentally (or not), American Cable Association (ACA) CEO Matthew Polka told FierceCable that some smaller operators might be forced to exit the low-margin pay-TV business. If that happens, will some of them ditch that product to instead rely exclusively on more profitable broadband offerings that can be bundled with over-the-top video services? — Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable

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