Moonves reiterates: Aereo wins, CBS may end OTA

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Les MoonvesHe’s said it before and now he’s saying it again: CBS Corp CEO Leslie Moonves said the No. 1 rated broadcaster could offer its content directly to consumers over the Internet and cut off its traditional broadcast signal if the Aereo video streaming service is deemed legal by SCOTUS. The copyright infringement case is being heard on 4/22.


“If Aereo should work, if they should win, which we don’t think will happen, we can go OTT with CBS,” Reuters quoted Moonves as saying 3/11 at a private  investor conference. “If the government wants to give them permission to steal our signal, then we will come up with some other way to get them our content and still get paid for it.”

Moonves has previously said that CBS would consider taking its free broadcast channel off the air and turning it into a cable network if Aereo prevails.

At the conference, Moonves added that CBS could go online “if there are systems out there that try to hurt us.”

RBR-TVBR observation: SCOTUS needs to know how much a decision in favor of allowing Aereo to illegally steal and re-sell content will completely turn the TV broadcasting business upside down. What would all of the local CBS affiliates do? Air MeTV or AntennaTV? What harm might this do to localism and providing emergency information when these affiliates go bankrupt and turn in their licenses? The point is Moonves isn’t kidding. If Aereo is allowed to do this crime, all MVPDs will do the same, with their own systems. With retransmission consent deals already under attack, Moonves might as well “stick it/tell it to the man”–and the High Court–at this point what’s at stake.


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Carl has been with RBR-TVBR since 1997 and is currently Managing Director/Senior Editor. Residing in Northern Virginia, he covers the business of broadcasting, advertising, programming, new media and engineering. He’s also done a great deal of interviews for the company and handles our ever-growing stable of bylined columnists.