Fox Executive Threatens To Make His Network Subscription

Senior Contributor
04.09.13 30 Comments

Recently, a company called Aereo that we’ve covered before won a major victory in court that means it won’t be shut down while it fights in court over whether or not it’s allowed to hook up an antenna to your computer and send you stuff broadcast for free over the Internet.

Apparently the Fox network is so upset about this, it’s just going to stop giving stuff away for free if you don’t stop trying to watch their content that they give away for free in a way they don’t like.

Specifically, Chase Carey, COO of News Corp., said that if consumers keep insisting on using technology, they’re just going to, uh, charge everybody money to watch content with ads in it.

“We need the dual revenue stream model of retransmission fees and advertising to sustain our business,” Chase said. “We will pursue our rights fully both legally and politically to protect our rights. But if we can’t get our rights protected, we will pursue business solutions to take our network and turn it into a subscription service.”

Wait… isn’t adapting to changing technology and consumer demand what businesses are supposed to do?

That said, it’s not really clear how, technologically, this would even be possible. Sure, you can scramble a broadcast signal and sell descramblers… but how would you know somebody wasn’t using an unauthorized descrambler? Would the affiliates go for this? How would it impact the Nielsens?

And is Aereo really something Fox and the networks want to run away from in the first place? It’s not a secret that intensifying competition from cable, DVRs, and online streaming are changing how TV shows are viewed and whittling away at audiences, but it seems wrong to blame Aereo, which is ultimately just a tiny antenna and a cloud-based DVR, for these problems. If anything, it’s trying to solve them: Figuring out who watches broadcast content streamed through a website is a damn sight easier than tracking Nielsen families.

Hey, at least he’s promised to do his job.

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