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CBS chief executive mulls move to cable in Aereo fight

updated 01:17 pm EDT, Wed April 10, 2013

Echoes earlier Fox threat to cease over-the-air broadcasts

CBS is considering a possible move to cable if Aereo continues to operate, following comments from another broadcaster. Chief executive Les Moonves voiced approval of Fox Chief Operating Officer Chase Carey's earlier threat to cease over-the-air broadcasts, though it such an action is unlikely to occur in the first place.

Carey's comments came after Aereo won an appeal against the National Association of Broadcasters in the United States Second Circuit Court of Appeals. The verdict effectively cleared Aereo of copyright infringement from its service, which consists of streaming broadcasts picked up by miniaturized antennas to customers over the Internet, as well as a cloud-based DVR product. "We need to be able to be fairly compensated for our content," told Carey other TV executives, before suggesting that the Fox network could "move to a subscription model if that's our only recourse."

Moonves told the New York Times that he "wholeheartedly supported what Chase said." When pressed further, Moonves revealed that CBS has been in exploratory talks with cable operators in the New York-Connecticut area, though this was seen as a final option to take if nothing else could be done, stating "Frankly, we don't think it will get to that point."

Other network executives have also reportedly passed comment on Carey, including Univision chairman Haim Saban. While ABC and NBC have declined to comment directly, a source of the report claimed NBCUniversal chief executive Steve Burke supports Carey privately.

Broadcasters can choose to continue the fight against Aereo, through an appeal to the full Second Circuit or the Supreme Court. In the meantime, Aereo is continuing in its plan to expand from its New York base to cover 22 more cities by the end of this year.

by MacNN Staff




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