Who Are Aereo's Customers?

11:00 AM -- BOSTON -- Managing & Monetizing OTT Video -- Aereo Inc. 's got a lot on its plate right now.

It launched its US$12 per month, over-the-top video/network DVR service about six weeks ago, providing customers in New York City with free, over-the-air broadcast TV signals fed by dozens of thumb-sized antennas housed at a central location. And then there are those court battles pitting Aereo against some of the nation's major broadcasters, which like the retransmission fees that cable operators pay them and are mad at Aereo because they think the startup is distributing their signals illegally. (See Aereo Fights for Its Life .)

When I caught up briefly with Aereo founder and CEO Chaitanya Kanojia here, he couldn't say a lot more than what's already been said because his company's embroiled in litigation.

But he did acknowledge that one of Aereo's goals early on is to figure out who its customers are. Are they cord-cutters? Are they cable or satellite TV customers who don't mind paying an extra $12 per month to get access to their broadcast stations while they're on the go, while also getting access to a DVR in the cloud? What's the mix? What's the average customer profile? It's "premature" to know the answer, Kanojia said. (See Aereo Makes Cord-Cutting Bid in NYC.)

But he did say Aereo is pleased with the feedback it's getting from customers so far, and is likewise happy with the "heavy usage" it's see since the launch, though he wouldn't quantify it. But he did note that the company's dual-tuner network DVR, which gives each customer enough space to record about 40 hours of HD programming, is proving to be a popular feature.

"We're making somebody's quarter buying disks," he said. So, in addition to Aereo's customers, there are definitely some storage vendors out there rooting for Aereo as it squares off with the big broadcasters.

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— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable

joanengebretson 12/5/2012 | 5:29:28 PM
re: Who Are Aereo's Customers?

It's interesting, but not surprising, to see the popularity of Aereo DVR capability. I suspect there are a lot of people who are relatively satisfied with broadcast programming but are tired of being the last one on their block who still tapes shows on videocassette.

Seems like a demand broadcasters should have thought about fulfilling themselves somehow.



msilbey 12/5/2012 | 5:29:19 PM
re: Who Are Aereo's Customers?

I agree with the point about pent-up DVR demand. Also, there is clearly demand for some middle tier of TV service. For anyone not addicted to sports, there's a pretty compelling proposition in being able to get a package of broadcast content, plus select OTT video, plus DVR capabilities. Especially if the cost is so far below that of cable/telco TV service. We're going to see more of these types of packages soon. 

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