Barry Diller, chairman of InterActiveCorp and a major shareholder in Aereo, says the TV-streaming service's future relies almost entirely on the US Supreme Court.
Later this month, the US Supreme Court will hear oral arguments over whether Aereo should be allowed to stream over-the-air digital streams of broadcast signals and charge subscribers for access to its service. If the Supreme Court rules in favor of broadcasters, Diller says, there might be nothing left of Aereo to salvage.
"If we lose, we're finished...It's very possible that there's some to salvage," Diller told Bloomberg Television in an interview that aired Wednesday. "But Aereo would probably, as I say probably just because I can't -- I can't see any path forward. It probably would not be able to continue in business."
The US Supreme Court agreed in January to hear the Aereo case. Aereo has been battling with broadcasters, including ABC, CBS (the parent of CNET), Fox, and NBC Universal, for nearly two years over their allegations that the streaming service essentially steals their creative, copyrighted content by sharing it online with others and not paying them for access to the programming.
Aereo's service is actually quite simple. The company takes readily available over-the-air television programming and allows customers to personally record it to a cloud-based DVR. Aereo customers can then watch that programming on their computers or mobile devices.
Aereo, which last week filed a 100-page brief with the high court to make its case that it's not violating any copyright law, is available in select markets across the US. According to Diller, if Aereo wins its case with the Supreme Court, it'll rapidly expand its national presence.
"We would be in every urban center, in any urban city, certainly [the] top 30-40 markets," he told Bloomberg.
Oral arguments in the case start on April 22.