Aereo expands its NYC market
Even as it continues to battle lawsuits brought by major broadcasters hoping to shut it down, free-to-air TV-for-a-fee provider Aereo is expanding its service footprint and continuing its march towards a nationwide rollout.
The company announced Monday that it is now available to be purchased by more than 19 million people living in the New York City metropolitan area including 29 counties across New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Pennsylvania, expanding from its current base in the Big Apple's five boroughs.
Aereo's model defies simple definition. It is a membership-based service for which subscribers pay $1 per day, $8 per month or $80 per year and which works on connected devices like smartphones, tablets and laptop and desktop computers, the company said in the press release. Consumers download the app from the Aereo website, create an account and get access to 30 TV channels and Bloomberg television (in the New York area market) with the ability to pause, rewind and fast forward live content or save for later viewing.
"Creating more choice and a competitive marketplace is a good thing for consumers," Chet Kanojia, the company's CEO-founder, said in the press release announcing the expanded market. "Today, consumers are tethered to expensive and outdated technology that limits how, when and where they can enjoy their own television programming. Aereo's technology now lets us provide simplicity, ease of use and rational pricing--three things that have all but disappeared for the consumer."
The model is being challenged by over-the-air networks who contend that their services should not be considered "free," even though they are broadcast over the public airwaves. As justification, these broadcasters point to cable, IPTV and satellite providers who routinely pay onerous retransmission fees for the rights to carry their broadcasts.
Aereo recently received $33 million in funding, said it would launch nationwide and, in the recent press release, said it would launch an advertising campaign on New York City billboards, phone kiosks and "key city transit points, including waterways, commuter trains and PATH transit hubs."