Wednesday, April 24, 2013

How Talent Loses if Aereo Wins

Follow the money and discover an unstated reason the Hollywood unions weighed in with briefs opposing the new service.

Several weeks ago, Fox, PBS and several other companies were hit with a 2-1 federal court of appeals ruling rebuffing their attempt to shut down Aereo, a new service backed by Barry Diller. Last week, they filed a petition for a rehearing en banc, in which all thirteen judges of the New York based court would rehear the case and potentially reverse the ruling, resulting in the preliminary injunction that the networks seek while the matter goes to trial.

Interestingly the Hollywood unions – DGA, IATSE, SAG-AFTRA and WGA – signed on to an amicus brief supporting that petition, as they had also done when the original appeal was heard. But why do the guilds care?

As a reminder, Aereo is a service that allows users to watch and record local TV for $8/month without a cable subscription. The service is available in New York and, soon, in Boston. It’s drawn the ire of broadcast networks because it would facilitate cord-cutting, reducing revenue to networks.

As a result, News Corp. president and COO Chase Carey has threatened to make Fox cable-only if Aereo prevails in court. There are potential downsides to this, and some analysts are skeptical that Fox would make the move, but the threat can’t be dismissed out of hand.

One reason the guilds are concerned ...

Details: The Hollywood Reporter.

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