Here's what's pushing cable's buttons this morning.
Aereo Inc. CEO Chet Kanojia realizes that his company faces almost certain death if major broadcasters are successful in pinning down the startup's service, which uses small, thumb-sized antennas to capture free over-the-air digital TV signals and shuttle them along via broadband to subscribers who are paying $12 per month. While a preliminary injunction would certainly be damaging, extended litigation "would be the end of the company," the exec conceded in court on Wednesday, according to Business Week. Major U.S. broadcasters are suing the Barry Diller-backed startup over claims that Aereo's service, which also bundles in a network DVR, violates copyright laws. (See Aereo's Service Wins a Reprieve (for Now), Diller Says Aereo Doesn't Sell Content and Diller's Aereo Under Legal Attack.)
TiVo Inc. (Nasdaq: TIVO) posted a first-quarter net loss of $20.8 million (17 cents per share) thanks to rising litigation and marketing costs on revenues of $67.8 million, up 48 percent year-on-year. The DVR pioneer did add a net 206,000 subscribers in the quarter, versus a loss of 88,000 a year-ago, thanks in large part to continued solid results from U.K.-based operator partner Virgin Media Inc. (Nasdaq: VMED). TiVo is forecasting a second-quarter loss of $28 million to $30 million as litigation costs tied to its lawsuit with Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) start to accelerate. (See TiVo Suit Targets AT&T & Verizon.)
Comcast's business services unit has launched VoiceEdge, its new cloud-based voice and communications platform, in Michigan. Comcast debuted the hosted, BroadSoft Inc. -powered PBX service in March, targeting it to businesses with up to 250 employees. Comcast expects to have VoiceEdge launched in all markets by year's end. (See Comcast Rolls Business Voice Into the Cloud.)