Aereo, the IAC-backed startup that uses thumb-sized antennae to live-stream–and record!–broadcast TV, Hulu, and Netlix to any mobile device, isn’t even technically available for another couple days. But that hasn’t stopped IAC chairman Barry Diller from thinking big.
At a keynote address at SXSW yesterday, Mr. Diller predicted that Aereo, which will be available in New York City starting March 14th, will be in 75 to 100 cities within the year. That chipper, can-do attitude extended to Aereo’s competitors as well.
“I completely understand their motivation. It’s going to be a great fight,” Mr. Diller said of the two-fold lawsuits from broadcasters like CBS, NBC, FOX, ABC, CW, and PBS alleging copyright violations.
The lawsuits, which were filed earlier this month, allege that Aereo rebroadcasts their programming without permission. Aereo claims that because each user get his or her own mini-antennae (stored collectively in a warehouse), users are merely activating their legal right to the content.
Part of Mr. Diller’s equipoise about the lawsuits may have to do with the fact that Aereo, and the investors that plunked down $20.5 million in venture financing last month, knew they were coming. Mr. Diller called their litigious response “absolutely predictable,” for media companies trying to protect their margins, reports Bloomberg.
As he told the crowd in Austin, media companies did the same thing when Sony invented the Betamax VCR, but the Supreme Court eventually overruled the case. As for rebroadcasting, Mr. Diller seems to expect a similar ruling in favor of innovation. “I understand what [the broadcast owners] are saying, but they’re not on the side of settled law,” he said.