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Aereo Heads to Auction

Mari Silbey

After filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in November, Aereo is now ready to auction off its assets to the highest bidder.

There's just one hitch: According to several news reports, broadcasters have to be in on the process, and they have to approve the final sale.

The Supreme Court effectively shut Aereo Inc. down in June when it ruled that the startup broke the law by freely transcoding and then streaming over-the-air TV to customers on the Internet. However, Aereo's technology didn't go away just because its business model disappeared, and the company believes its dime-sized TV antennas and transcoding tech still have value. After investors poured nearly $100 million into the startup, Aereo is hoping to recoup a percentage of the investment by selling off those assets. (See Last Chapter (11) for Aereo and Aereo CEO Trashes Pay-TV Model.)

For more on the Aereo saga, visit the video news channel on Light Reading.

The US Bankruptcy Court in Manhattan agreed last week that Aereo could auction off its technology under certain conditions. Broadcasters -- including CBS, NBC and FOX -- must be given weekly updates on the auction process and be allowed to attend the final sale. The networks also have the ability to kill any deal up to two weeks after it's made if they believe Aereo's technology will be used for further illegal means.

Despite the conditions, it appears that numerous potential suitors are lining up at Aereo's door. News reports say that 17 bidders are currently in the running for Aereo's technology, which could theoretically be adapted for some other type of cloud-based TV service. Final bids are expected by February 20, with a deal possible several days later.

— Mari Silbey, special to Light Reading

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12/31/2014 | 4:18:31 PM
Re: disruptive innovation
It's a great model without a 'today' solution,

·         I think Aereo should have had to pay broadcast fees under their model and the current broadcast models.  It's a shame they weren't allowed to do that, I think they were innovators not thieves.

·         I think that the current TV model is broken, and I'm for OTT and ala carte pricing, and even on demand (per show).

·         I won't pay $15 a channel/mo though.  I say this because what happens to ESPN when all the people who don't watch sports stop paying for it?  I believe 2 things will happen, cost for the getting the station will go up and there'll be more competition for sports coverage, which will mean more stations for you to buy to get the same coverage.  I mean how many stations do you currently pay for and how many do you actually watch more than 1 hour per week?

·         I am disappointed that the broadcast stations (in general) seem to be trying raise distribution fees more than figuring out how to embrace OTT and ala carte.

In the end, I think it was their model, not their technology that was disruptive, I hope someone will continue the push.
12/31/2014 | 10:14:14 AM
disruptive innovation
Aero is a company I loved following. Truly disruptive. I am too sad that 2014 brought the bankruptcy. 

Banning Napster could not save the music companies. Banning Aero wont save the broadcast TV.
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