As the dust settles on ABC vs Aereo, a clear cord cutter loss, I thought it might be fun to speculate on conversations going on at Aereo headquarters right now. Here are some ideas – admittedly not all of them good ones – on a possible “Plan B” for the company. Feel free to let me know if you think of some I overlooked.
1. Go out of business completely.
Start-ups come and go, and investors know it, but Aereo made it well past the typical market trial phase – they had paying customers in 11 cities. It would be a shame to simply walk away completely. As of this writing CEO Chet Kanojia has announced that Aereo is turning off but calling the shutdown temporary.
2. Become legal, pay the broadcasters, and become a real cable operator.
There are some intriguing concepts here including becoming the first nation wide streaming cable operator. Of course this is no longer a cord cutter thing. But no other cable operator today can (or is willing to) offer Pay TV services to anyone with an internet connection. Another sub-option would be to offer a la carte. This is no doubt technically possible – Netflix for example could do it. Bu the economics of content fees could be a deal killer.
3. Move off-shore.
Internet gambling companies have tried this approach with some success. The problem here is your company might be legal but the activity is still not.
4. Forget about streaming broadcasts – focus on cloud DVR.
If Aereo offered a cloud DVR service for your own personal recordings, there might be some takers. This would be pretty close to the Slingbox model. But Slingbox stores your data in the box. Perhaps there would be some appeal of having it in the cloud.
5. Focus on alternate legal content.
If Aereo had millions of subscribers they might have a stronger position bargaining with content providers. Aereo has been silent on subscriber count but one report that New York had 100K hints that the total number might be under 1 million. That being the case they night consider offering something cheap or free while building up their cord cutter loyalists. Unfortunately it’s hard to come up with free content these days. At least that’s not already easily streamed.
Well that’s all I could come up with, and the only two that seem even mildly attractive are # 2 and #4. Better ideas anyone?