Aereo has raised an additional $38 million and will be expanding into 22 cities. Barry Diller’s IAC and other investors like Highland Capital Partners poured some $20.5 million into Aereo initially. These investors are re-upping with another $38 million in a B round of financing was announced 1/8.
Aereo’s new financing and expansion was showcased at the Citi Global Internet, Media & Telecommunications Conference at CES, where Aereo CEO Chet Kanojia gave a talk.
The service, which lets people stream broadcast TV using their mobile devices, computers and tablets for $8 a month, launched in 2012 in New York City.
The expanded footprint will cover Atlanta, Austin, Baltimore, Birmingham, Ala., Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Houston, Kansas City, Madison, WI, Miami, Minneapolis, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Providence, Raleigh-Durham, Salt Lake City, Tampa and Washington D.C.
Aereo is still defending a lawsuit from all of the major TV networks, which contend it has infringed copyrights on their programming.
After Aereo launched and was taken to court by TV broadcasters, the company fended off a preliminary injunction largely on the basis of legal precedent in the New York jurisdiction. The broadcasters have since made an expedited appeal of the injunction denial and a decision should be coming in the next few months, says Hollywood Reporter.
In the meantime, Aereo says it will be rolling out the expansion throughout this year. In December, Aereo signed a deal with Bloomberg TV to be the first network it would offer on its service.
Said Kanojia: “We’ve been working hard to bring Aereo to consumers across the country and we’re excited to expand our reach to these 22 new cities. Consumers want and deserve choice. Watching television should be simple, convenient and rationally priced.”
RBR-TVBR observation: Seems like Aereo attorneys are confident they will ultimately win in court against the broadcasters—at least in the first rulings. If Aereo does win, it will be appealed to the Supreme Court. By the time they rule (if they decide to hear the case), Aereo will be nationwide. Yes, Aereo is one bold company, but it’s doubtful they are bucking the advice of legal counsel here. As we’ve said before, broadcasters licensed have the sole right to make revenues off of the content they air via their FCC licenses. If Aereo service was free to consumers (and they didn’t make any ad revenues down the road), we think the copyright infringement claims might not have been made. Unless Aereo has a deal in place like Time Warner Cable or DirecTV—which can legally make money from retransmitting the broadcasters’ content, we still see