Aereo TV Files for Bankruptcy21 Nov, 2014 By: Erik Gruenwedel
Aereo TV, the shuttered subscription-based digital TV broadcaster whose business model was thwarted by the U.S. Supreme Court, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.
Chapter 11 will permit Aereo to maximize the value of its business and assets without the extensive cost and distraction of defending drawn out litigation in several courts.
Aereo has appointed Lawton Bloom of Argus Legal LLC in Virginia to serve as Aereo’s chief restructuring officer during this period.
In a Nov. 21 post on its website, founder and CEO Chet Kanojia said the reversal of the Second Circuit Court of Appeals decision in June by the top court proved too difficult an obstacle.
“The Supreme Court decision effectively changed the laws that had governed Aereo’s technology, creating regulatory and legal uncertainty. And while our team has focused its energies on exploring every path forward available to us, without that clarity, the challenges have proved too difficult to overcome,” Kanojia wrote.
Aereo TV launched three years ago in Manhattan, N.Y., offering subscription service for live and on demand access to local TV broadcasts on portable devices via micro antennae. Aereo’s legal claim was that its technology was simply capturing free over-the-air digital signals — something televisions in the past did with rabbit ear antennae.
Broadcasters and media companies didn’t agree. This set off a series of litigation with Aereo winning battles in the federal district courts of New York and Boston and the Second Circuit Court of Appeals.
CBS CEO Les Moonves, a vocal critic of Aereo, lauded the technology but characterized the service as theft of copyright material.
Regardless, Kanojia said Aereo has helped evolve TV distribution as evidenced by the flurry of over-the-top video services and on-demand platforms coming to market.
“We feel incredibly lucky to have had the opportunity to build something as meaningful and special as Aereo. With so many shifts and advances in technology, there has never been a more perfect time to take risks, challenge the status quo and build something special,” Kanojia wrote.