The Supreme Court shot down Aereo’s business model this week, but that does not mean customers’ desire for a better TV experience is gone. Also Read - Independent TV assures TRAI that it has taken steps to ensure conformity to new regulatory framework
Americans are still fed up with huge channel bundles, high prices, poor service and the lack of ability to watch all their shows on all their devices. That is part of why Aereo was attractive: It offered a few dozen local broadcast channels and the Bloomberg TV financial channel on multiple devices for just 8 USD a month. Industry watchers say the pay TV business must continue to evolve to win over unhappy customers, even if the nation’s top court said grabbing signals from the airwaves and distributing them online without content-owner permission isn’t the way. Also Read - TRAI hopeful of 90% customer on-boarding by February 1 deadline for new tariff regime: RS Sharma
“Even without Aereo, the reason people were cutting the cord, for cost reasons and so on, those don’t go away,” said Robin Flynn, an analyst with market research firm SNL Kagan. Last year, the number of pay TV subscribers in the US fell for the first time, dipping 0.1 percent to 94.6 million, according to Leichtman Research Group. SNL estimates that 5 percent of homes will substitute pay TV with one or more Internet video services by the end of the year, rising to 10 percent five years from now. Also Read - Blaupunkt 55-inch 4K Ultra-HD LED Smart TV Review: Good audio but not so smart
Many companies are offering quality TV content online for low cost to meet that rising demand. They include Netflix and Amazon. Hulu, which is owned by major broadcast networks ABC, NBC and Fox, offers full episodes of popular shows like “The Colbert Report” the next day for free. While that is not live TV, which Aereo offered, for many it’s a good-enough substitute. The decision against Aereo is a setback, but not a fatal one for people who want to break away from traditional TV, said Bill Niemeyer, senior analyst at TDG Research.
“While the content on the major broadcast networks is very important for some people, it’s not important for everyone,” Niemeyer said. Alki David, the CEO of online streaming company FilmOn, said the Supreme Court’s ruling actually creates an opportunity for startups because the court said that Aereo bears an “overwhelming likeness” to cable companies.