The networks generally insist that marketers are simply being cautious and that ad spending will ultimately pick up, but investors and analysts are clearly growing skeptical.
Insofar as the FCC’s goal is to create a level playing field, where OVDs could compete effectively with facilities-based pay-TV providers, the disparate treatment of broadcast and digital rights will make the job much harder than simply mandating carriage negotiations.
As sports viewing increasingly goes over-the-top and mobile, taking the traditional broadcast audience with it, big-ticket, broadcast-only rights deals are going to grow increasingly problematic for the broadcasters.
A new breed of TV services could cater to cord cutters by combining over-the-air broadcast TV with live streaming and on-demand programming. The hardware for this kind of service is already being built.
Sports fans and news junkies may get a kick out of this one: 4SeTV lets you watch four live TV feeds at once.
Aereo’s greatest utility was the ability to watch must-see live TV on a phone or tablet in more or less real time, but that type of content makes up only a fraction of most broadcast channels’ lineups.
Bad cases make bad law, and Aereo is a case in point.
For all the sturm und drung the Aereo case unleashed it could all come down to a matter of legal draftsmanship more than legal reasoning.
If Aereo loses in court it’s done. But even if it wins there’s nothing to stop broadcasters themselves from eventually providing streaming access to their broadcast signals, potentially at no cost to viewers.
The outcome of the Aereo case could turn on whether a majority of the justices can get comfortable distinguishing Aereo from Cablevision, allowing them to craft an opinion that finds Aereo to be illegal without disturbing the result of the Cablevision case.