Aereo Asks Court to Stop ‘Bleeding,’ Allow Life Like Cable

Aug 01, 2014 2:38 pm ET

(Updates with judge’s response in second paragraph.)

Aug. 1 (Bloomberg) -- Aereo Inc. asked a judge to grant it new life, allowing it to operate like a cable-TV service and stop the “bleeding” after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled the streaming video company violated broadcasters’ copyrights.

The startup requested an emergency ruling to allow it to resume business, saying it’s fighting for survival, according to a filing in federal court in Manhattan. U.S. District Judge Alison Nathan today declined to address the company’s request, saying Aereo had “jumped the gun” and filed prematurely without authorization.

Without the permission to resume operations, Aereo said it otherwise would need time to change its service to providing exclusively recorded programming. The company hasn’t able to make money since halting operations June 28, according to the filing.

After the Supreme Court ruled Aereo violated copyrights by transmitting live and recorded broadcast programming from an antenna via the Internet, the company said it could instead operate like a cable-TV provider. The U.S. Copyright Office in July said it will hold off on taking action on granting the license needed to stream video online until the startup’s status is clarified by the courts.

“Unless it is able to resume operations in the immediate future, the company will likely not survive,” Aereo said in the filing. “In the interim, Aereo is currently incurring staggering costs without accruing any revenue. The company is figuratively bleeding to death.”

Reinventing Aereo

Aereo’s service, which cost as little as $8 a month and was available in 11 cities, gave customers another way to watch live and recorded broadcast TV without paying for cable-TV packages.

Reinventing itself would put Aereo in the same category as the companies it set out to replace -- the major cable and satellite providers such as Comcast Corp. and DirecTV that can charge $70 a month for cable and broadcast channels.

Aereo is backed by billionaire Barry Diller, whose company IAC/InterActiveCorp took a writedown on its investment in the startup last quarter.

The cases are Aereo v. CBS Broadcasting Inc., 13-cv-03013, and American Broadcasting Cos. Inc. v. Aereo Inc., 12-cv-01540, U.S. District, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).