Aereo backer Barry Diller told Bloomberg TV Wednesday that if the company loses in the Supreme Court, "we're finished."
He took a little off that, saying there is possibly some "salvage," but ultimately concluded he could not see "a path forward" and that it would "probably not be able to stay in business."
Asked if Aereo could simply compete with cable for content in that event he suggested it could, but it would not be worth it. "We could probably pay retransmission consent dollars if we could make a deal with broadcasters,” he said. “But the value proposition would go out of the game because Aereo is a low-cost method of receiving over-the-air broadcasting. That's the platform."
On the other hand, he says, if Aereo gets the go-ahead, it will move into all of the top 30 or 40 markets, including expanding in the West Coast.
The interview came the same day amicus briefs in support of Aereo are due in the Supreme Court, which hears oral argument in the case April 22.
Aereo claims it is providing remote access to free TV and home taping rights, and not a performance, so does not have to pay anything for the TV signal or underlying copyrights.
Broadcasters and studios say it is a technological gerrymandering to evade those payments.
The court will decide, likely by early summer.
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Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.