Cbs's Moonves Vows To Stamp Out Aereo
CBS chief Les Moonves is determined to put the Aereo service out of business -- one way or another. At the Milken Global Conference in Beverly Hills on Tuesday, Moonves reiterated his contention that Aereo, which receives broadcast signals on tiny antennas assigned to individual subscribers and allows them to receive them on mobile devices via the Internet, is illegal. On the other hand, Moonves suggested that Aereo poses no threat to CBS, inasmuch as after 18 months of operating in the New York market, it has only been able to sign up 2,000 subscribers. I don't think they're going to hurt us with 2,000 subscribers in New York City, he said. Nevertheless, said Moonves, if CBS loses its court battle to shut down Aereo, he said, he intends to take his case to Congress. Meanwhile, BTIG analyst Richard Greenfield suggests that the broadcasters' battle against Aereo can only wind up hurting themselves. In a note to clients, Greenfield observes that broadcasters have never sued anyone for selling consumers antennas to receive over-the-air television signals. In fact, broadcast-only antenna homes end up spending all of their TV time on broadcast network programming, compared to multichannel video homes where broadcast network viewership is now sub 50 percent and falling rapidly. Aereo, he notes, would only increase viewership for the broadcasters that are suing them.