Skip to main content

CBS joins Fox in threatening cable-only broadcasts if Aereo continues to expand

 Leslie Moonves

CBS’s boss is threatening to take the network off the air and turn it into an exclusive cable channel if court battles prove unsuccessful in stopping Internet upstart Aereo from operating and expanding, echoing the same sentiments made by Fox last month.

Leslie Moonves, chief executive officer at CBS, spoke at the Milken Institute Global Conference in Beverly Hills, telling the audience that his company had already approached cable operators in New York about Aereo rebroadcasting CBS shows like NCIS and The Big Bang Theory without prior consent.

Aereo has drawn the ire of broadcasters because it takes free over-the-air broadcasts from networks and makes them available to subscribers on computers, iOS and Android devices over the Internet. The contentious debate over Aereo’s business is that it makes money from subscribers, but doesn’t pay anything to the networks to rebroadcast the content. In addition, Aereo lets viewers record shows and fast-forward through commercials, leading to another dispute related to advertising revenues.

CBS’s threat to move to cable-only broadcast would strip Aereo of the ability to rebroadcast anything it airs, but also stop TV viewers from accessing the channel using digital antennas. Aereo recently won a court decision at the U.S. Court of Appeals that allowed it to continue operating and paving the way for an aggressive expansion expected to hit 22 markets by the end of the year. Boston will be the first outside of New York when it goes live on May 15. CBS already unofficially threatened a lawsuit if the Boston rollout goes as planned.

“It’s illegal,” said Moonves, referring to Aereo’s business model. “They’re taking our signal and charging people for it.”

His vehement opposition to Aereo follows a similar threat made by News Corp., the parent company of Fox, last month. Chief operating officer Chase Carey had toed the same line, accusing Aereo of “stealing our signal” and that “we will pursue business solutions” should legal avenues yield no results. He later posited that the network could eventually be turned into a subscription-based service.

Moonves went even further, predicting that networks would begin pulling free content from Hulu and turning that platform into a business more like Netflix, where all content would be accessible only by subscribers. He reiterated previous remarks affirming that CBS wasn’t interested in acquiring Hulu, which is jointly owned by News Corp., Disney and Comcast, among others.

Aereo hasn’t commented on the latest threat, but it looks like this will be a tough fight between the long-standing networks who have owned the TV business and an upstart changing the content delivery method.

Editors' Recommendations

Ted Kritsonis
A tech journalism vet, Ted covers has written for a number of publications in Canada and the U.S. Ted loves hockey, history…
Crazy deal gets you Beats Studio Buds earbuds for under $100
beats studio buds cyber monday deal 2021 black friday

The Beats by Dre answer to AirPods just got a fantastic deal at Woot! You can get the Beats Studio Buds for only $98, down from their usual $150. There's even a surprising bonus. Unlike most products sold on Woot!, which is a subsidiary of Amazon, these Beats buds are not used, renewed or refurbished. That's right, they are completely new -- and $52 off! Headphone deals like this don't pop up every day. Check it out below.

Why you should buy the Beats Studio Buds
At launch, we described the Beats Studio Buds as AirPods Pro Lite. While they lack finer details like wireless charging and wear sensors, they're well-priced offering excellent sound quality and ANC. The buds provide two distinct listening modes -- Active Noise Cancelling and Transparency -- so you can take in as much of the world as you desire at any time. Industry-leading Class 1 Bluetooth provides an extended range and fewer dropouts than other earbuds while you also get a great audio experience.

Read more
10 of the best turntable accessories for vinyl supremacy
A non-static vinyl brush on a record.

With vinyl record sales showing no signs of letting up, there's a pretty good chance that you've already grabbed yourself a great turntable and started discovering the awesomeness of building a record collection.

But like any new passion or hobby, once you've gotten your feet wet, you inevitably discover just how deep the well goes as a seemingly endless range of turntable accessories, upgrades, and more starts to appear. From better cartridges and phono preamps for coaxing the best sound from your turntable, to precision setup tools to make sure everything's properly balanced, to cleaning, storage, and organization gear, we've put it all together in this roundup of the best record player accessories to level up your spinning life.

Read more
Best streaming devices for 2023: Apple TV, Roku, and more
An Apple TV 4K sits on a media stand.

There now are so many ways for you to get all the shows and movies you want on all your favorite streaming services, be it Netflix, Max, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, Disney+. For many, using whatever is built into to your TV is just fine. That could be one of the more popular streaming platforms, like Roku, Amazon Fire TV, or Google TV. But there are plenty of reasons to use an external streaming device, too.

The major players in the streaming device game — Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, Android TV, Google TV, Roku — are all fighting for your money, so we're here to make sure you throw it at the right streaming device for you and your budget, which typically ranges from as low as $30 to as high as $200.

Read more