When Lawyers Send Letters
We somehow doubt that Alki David, the irreverent prankster behind Aereo competitor (and hilariously named) website BarryDriller.com, didn’t see this one coming. Today, news broke that IAC chairman and Aereo board member Barry Diller is suing both Mr. David and BarryDriller.com for using his likeness to falsely advertise the business.
I Want My Free TV
New York Tech Meetup heroes Aereo released a new deal today geared towards those who want to try the broadcast TV streaming service without actually having to commit. Paging NYC dudes under 30! (Ba dum tsch.)
The new feature, called “Try for Free,” allows users to access Aereo for one hour daily without ever having to sign up or input their credit card info. So if you start watching a program on Aereo at 3 p.m., you’ll have access to the service until 4 p.m. You won’t be able to DVR anything, though.
More than 150 people braved last night’s land hurricane–technically called a derecho–to attend Coalition for Queens’ second Queens Tech Meetup at Hunters Point Plaza in Long Island City.
Unfortunately, the crowd of young professionals was only able to enjoy rooftop views of the Manhattan skyline for a short while before the clouds came rolling in. Thankfully, the demos inside provided plenty of amusement, including a tug-of-war match and a feline photo shoot for mycatandi.com.
Over The Aereo
Aereo won an important legal victory earlier this week, when a judge declined to issue a preliminary injunction that would’ve essentially shut the TV-streaming service down until a broadcasters’ lawsuit against the company is decided. Not only might the move have smothered the company in its cradle, but the ruling also bodes well for Aereo’s ultimate fate in the lawsuit.
Well, now that one existisitential threat has receded, it looks like the swagger is back in the company’s step.
Yesterday media mastermind and spry septuagenarian Barry Diller informed Bloomberg TV, “Within a year and a half, certainly by ’13, we’ll be in most major” markets. We like to imagine the line was accompanied by an enormous, satisfied grin.
Nor will Aereo continue hiding its light under a bushel. Mr. Diller also told Bloomberg that, “We’re going to really start marketing.” And while it may seem like Aereo is all you ever hear about, despite the occasional splashy party and a demo at New York Tech Meetup, the company hasn’t exactly been making the full-court press to consumers.
Come on, Barry, now you’re just trolling the poor broadcasters.
Over The Aereo
Yesterday, U.S. District Judge Alison Nathan denied broadcasters’ request for a preliminary injunction on Aereo, a service backed by Barry Diller that lets users live-stream basic channels like NBC, CBS, ABC, and PBS, all of which are suing the startup.
The plaintiffs had requested an injunction to prohibit consumers from watching programming on Aereo until the broadcast had completed airing–knocking the wind out of the whole watch-it-live proposition. But the judge’s decision yesterday also offers a hint as to how other claims in the lawsuit may be decided.
Law and Order
Looks like even big money and a mob-like grip can’t keep one New York startup down. A cluster of broadcast companies filed an injunction against online TV startup Aereo back in May, claiming that its very existence threatened their big, bad business.
Today, U.S. District Judge Alison Nathan threw out the injunction, siding with Aereo’s argument that its business would also be harmed if the injunction went through.
According to Reuters, “Nathan concluded that the so-called ‘balance of hardships’ did not tip ‘decidedly’ in the broadcasters’ favor.”
Hey, you with the messy hair and Ray-Bans: aren’t you so excited about McCarren Park Pool reopening after 28 years? So is TV streaming service Aereo, which is offering 28 one-year subscriptions in celebration of the occasion. All you have to do is follow @AereoTV, tweet at @AereoTV with the hashtag #aereobythepool.
At first glance, the contest’s flyer is a little confusing. Are they offering a 28-year subscription, we wondered? Luckily the official rules shed some light on that question: “Twenty-eight (28) one-year memberships to Promotion Sponsor’s membership platform will be given away as prizes to the first twenty-eight (28) eligible entrants.”
Phew, we thought a 28-year subscription was a little too hubris-heavy for our fast-moving technological society. We’re sure we’ll be fully entrenched in the Singularity by 2040 anyway, with TVs embedded into contact lenses.
Last time we checked there were only 15 entrants, so tweet your hearts out, TV lovers!
Over The Aereo
A ruling is expected this afternoon in a lawsuit against Aereo, a potentially disruptive service that allows customers to stream broadcast television content without anyone, customers or Aereo, paying fees to broadcasters. The company is backed by more than $20 million from investors, including Barry Diller of IAC, who may be getting a little nervous: Today a Fox executive basically accused Aereo CEO Chet Kanojia of lying in court.
Internet Wants to Be Free
Sometime in the mid-nineties, my dad got an AOL account. Roughly two seconds after that, I fell down the rabbit hole of anonymous chat rooms and never quite got out–that is when I wasn’t getting the deadly, dreaded dial-up busy signal. AOL charged by the hour back then. Until the service switched to a flat monthly rate in October, 1996, the clock was always ticking, forcing you to make the Sophie’s Choice of where to spend your time online.
Now it seems the industry is heading back in that direction. Not by-the-hour, mind you, but a usage-based pricing model that would prompt viewers to consider whether, say, spending the weekend watching Friday Night Lights on Netflix is really worth it. (Answer: Clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose.)
The sun was still setting when The Observer rounded the corner under The High Line for IAC’s Internet Week closing party, co-hosted by Aereo, a provocative new startup that will allow users to view broadcast content on their computers, smartphones and tablets. Off the drab West Side Highway, the Frank Gehry-designed building shimmered like a landing dock for a space ship–as if the top could twist off and whir its way into the atmosphere. Will Arnett and Wilmer Valderrama walked the red carpet. Dolled-up in pale pink, Allison Williams (the Miranda to Lena Dunham’s Carrie) took Barry Diller’s elbow as she navigated the crowd.
As the origin myth has it, Mr. Diller’s transformation from a Hollywood mogul to Internet soothsayer for this new digital era started with an Apple PowerBook. “No question that his relationship with his little screen, which is irritating to everybody in the room, has altered his life,” his closest confidante and now wife Diane von Furstenberg told The New Yorker some years back.
It was the early ’90s—right around the time Rupert Murdoch refused to make Mr. Diller a principal at Fox, the fabled fourth network Mr. Diller pioneered when competitors insisted that three would do just fine.