Is This the End of Broadcast TV as You Know It?! (No…But Yes)

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bill-swift - April 10, 2013

Have you heard of Aereo, the internet service that allows you to stream broadcast television to your various internet-enabled devices? Well, it just might bring about television armageddon.

All Aereo does, of course, is take the signal that anyone could pick up on with an antenna and stream it through the internet. It does not circumvent advertisements any more than a typical DVR would, and thus it does not hinder the advertising revenue the broadcast networks enjoy. So then what's the problem from the networks' point of view? Ironically, the danger posed to broadcast TV by Aereo is the way it affects cable. You see, cable providers pay the broadcast networks to carry their channels, but Aereo devalues what the broadcast channels are worth to them, which hurts the broadcast networks' bottom lines.

For this reason, ABC, CBS, Fox, and NBC have banded together to demand that Aereo be shut down. However, according to Variety, this week News Corp president Chase Carey has gone rogue and made the bold declaration that, if Aereo is allowed to go on, Fox will have no choice but to forsake the airwaves and go cable-only. And if Fox actually did that, ABC, CBS, and NBC would surely follow. In other words, broadcast television is defending itself by threatening to destroy Aereo by destroying broadcast television—which is to say, they're relying on the doctrine of mutually assured descruction.

So it's basically just like the Cold War, only Les Moonves is Regan and billionaire Barry Dillers is Gorbachev.

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