Aereo Gets A Kick in the Ass(ets)
Sometimes the higher you rise, the further you fall.
Such is the case with Aereo Inc. , which wrapped up an auction of its assets for a disappointing sum of less than $2 million. The result fell far short of expectations and represents an appalling return on investment for a company that secured nearly $100 million in funding over its lifetime. (See Aereo Heads to Auction.)
At the conclusion of the auction, according to a court filing published by The Register, TiVo Inc. (Nasdaq: TIVO) walked away with the Aereo trademarks, domain names and customer lists for a total of $1 million. RPX Corp. paid $225,000 for Aereo's patents, and Alliance Technology Solutions, Inc. wrote a check for $320,000 for equipment leftovers.
Once a promising player in the over-the-top video market, Aereo has been effectively out of business since the US Supreme Court ruled against the company last June. (See Supreme Court Halts Aereo's Flight.)
However, the debate that Aereo sparked over the future of over-the-top video remains. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) , for example, is now considering whether OTT providers should be defined as multichannel video programming distributors, which would give streaming video companies the right to negotiate network retransmission deals the same way that cable operators do today. (See Wheeler Gets Down With OTT.)
The FCC also just passed its landmark net neutrality ruling. Although many of the implications of that decision are still unknown, the ruling does bring into question whether broadcasters have the right to block delivery of their content online based on deals with pay-TV providers.
Technically speaking, even if the FCC made that procedure illegal, it still wouldn't allow a company like Aereo to retransmit content over the web without programmer permission. But the discussion does get at the same central issue that Aereo addressed: whether TV that's free over the air should also be free on the web. (See 'Free' TV Model Under Threat.)
— Mari Silbey, special to Light Reading