News Corp's chief operating officer has claimed his company's Fox Network could paywall its TV service if startup Aereo continues to rebroadcast TV shows on the cheap in New York City.
Broadcasters are suing Aereo for bypassing retransmission fees with technology that delivers converted over-the-air programming to anyone who rents an Aereo HDTV antenna for $8 a month.
Aereo only operates in New York City at present and gives users access to NBC, ABC, CBS, Fox and The CW, as well as other local channels.
News Corp. COO Chase Carey reportedly made the threat Monday night at the NAB Show.
"This is not an ideal path we look to pursue, but we can't sit idly by and let an entity steal our signal," Carey is quoted as saying. "If we can't do a fair deal, we could take the whole network to a subscription model."
Broadcasters are hopping mad about Aereo because last week New York's U.S. Court of Appeals upheld a July ruling that the company does not infringe on broadcasters' copyright claims as it isn't broadcasting "public performances," and is, therefore, permissible. (See Aereo: Suited Up to Disrupt Pay TV.)
— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Light Reading Mobile