Aereo expansion marches on to Columbus, Cincinnati, San Antonio, Indianapolis

The cloud-based TV provider continues its westward move, adding four more cities. The company has plans to expand to 22 cities this year.

Aereo's CEO Chet Kanojia talking to a group of start-ups in New York
Aereo founder and CEO Chet Kanojia. Joan E. Solsman/CNET

Aereo, the cloud-based TV service, announced its move into four more cities Tuesday, adding Cincinnati, San Antonio, Indianapolis, and Columbus, Ohio, to its growing list of markets.

The company said earlier this year that it is expanding from New York to 22 new cities in the US in 2013. The four new cities are additional to that list. The service, which provides an extremely small antenna that enables customers to access over-the-air programming, currently operates in: Boston, Atlanta, Salt Lake City, Miami, Houston, and Dallas. Aereo also has a cloud-based DVR that lets users record over-the-air programming and play it back on personal devices.

Aereo CEO and founder Chet Kanojia announced the four additional cities at the Goldman Sachs Communacopia Conference in New York. While residents can pre-register for "priority access," Aereo won't announce the actual launch date until later this year.

At the conference, Kanojia said Aereo's focus for the next 14 months is exactly this kind of expansion, "just knocking these cities out" as he put it.

As usual, he skirted giving any hard data on Aereo's subscriber numbers, but he said that usership has increased 10 fold in the last three or four months.

He also touted the company's highly profitable model. "Assuming the trajectory we are seeing today, in terms of subscriber growth, continues to hold or accelerates ... it's an incredible business," he said.

He did paint a picture of the common Aereo user. About 65 percent of users are male, and 50 percent have pay-TV subscriptions. The age range generally is 25 to 45, with majority in their late 20s and early 30s. Its users are also well heeled, with an average income of around $100,000, though the company's presence solely in large metropolitan areas is a factor elevating the income of its demographic.

Many subscribers also have other over-the-top services like Netflix, and about half its users are watching Aereo on a television screen, even though that ability is limited at the moment to those using a Roku box or Apple TV via AirPlay.

The company has been a thorn in the side of major broadcast networks like NBC, ABC, Fox, and CBS (the parent of CNET). The companies have sued Aereo, claiming that the service violates their copyrights. So far, the court has ruled on Aereo's side, saying the companies have not been able to prove copyright infringement.

 

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