Mentioned within a CNBC interview with Les Moonves this week, the CBS President said that the network could potentially build a system identical to Aereo that offers up live streaming network content over the Internet through a subscription model and include DVR capabilities as well. That decision would likely impact Hulu’s business model significantly, basically since Hulu doesn’t provide access to new television episodes until the following day at the earliest.
Moonves didn’t seem particularly concerned about the upcoming Supreme Court decision regarding Aereo. Within the interview, Moonves said “If we don’t win, we have other ways of making up for it. It’s nothing I lose sleep over.” When asked about the ways to make up for it, Moonves stated “Putting our shows directly on cable, forming our own Aereo with other networks, going over the top. Lots of solutions. No fear on my part.”
However, Moonves does believe that the networks will lose the case. Since U.S. solicitor general Donald B. Verrilli Jr. came out in favor of the networks in this case, it’s likely that the Supreme Court will also rule the same way since the majority of decisions agree with the solicitor general’s opinion. Explained in a brief, the solicitor general states “Like its competitors, respondent therefore must obtain licenses to perform the copyrighted content on which its business relies.”
The Supreme Court is expected to hear the case on April 22 and a decision will likely follow before the end of June 2014. Aereo’s business model basically allows consumers the ability to remotely rent a HD antenna, similar to purchasing one for their home, and access both local, live streaming and recorded network content over the Internet. The networks are arguing that Aereo is illegally transmitting the content, thus violating copyright law. Aereo has been fairly successful defending the legality of the business model in lower courts up to this point in time.