(Corrects in 3rd paragraph Aereo's place of operation to New
York from Los Angeles)
By Ronald Grover
LOS ANGELES, April 29 Barry Diller, the
billionaire media mogul who is backing the startup Aereo TV
service, said on Monday it expects to reach between 25 and 30
percent of the U.S. television audience with the wireless
service that broadcasters say undermines the economics of their
On April 1 a federal appeals court denied a motion by major
media companies to shut down Aereo, which uses large numbers of
TV antennas to capture broadcast signals for its subscribers,
who do not want to pay cable and satellite operator's higher
Diller, speaking in Los Angeles to a conference sponsored by
the Milken Institute, estimates the service, which is currently
only in New York and will soon start in Boston, would roll out
to 22 more markets by the end of the year and eventually reach
25 million to 30 million potential subscribers for its $7.99 a
"Broadcasters are saying, 'This is awful,' but the courts
have spoken" said Diller, who is also chairman of IAC.
"They're just trying to create a controversy that they can take
to Congress to get some help."
Diller said Aereo has no plans to hire Washington lobbyists
to battle the media giants, relying instead on "many millions of
TV consumers" who will argue on Aereo's behalf.
"I thank the broadcasters for making all that noise on our
behalf," he said in an interview after the session.
Broadcasters intend to continue their fight against Aereo in
court. They argue that the service is stealing their signals and
delivering them to consumers, eliminating the payments they get
from cable and satellite operators who carry their channels.
"We will continue to aggressively pursue this in the courts
and believe we will prevail," a spokesman for News Corp's
Fox said on Monday. "We must be able to operate under a
business model where we receive fair compensation from parties
that want to redistribute our product."
Aereo does not break out the numbers of its subscribers, and
Diller said it will "be expensive for marketing to reach
potential users once the technology is in place throughout the
country." The technology relies on capturing broadcast signals
with a farm of small antennas and then giving subscribers access
to them over the internet.
Diller made light of whether he intended to negotiate with
broadcasters, some of whom have threatened to take their
channels off over-the-air broadcast and to put them instead only
on cable and satellite services, where Aereo cannot capture the
"If they think they can take prime-time programming away
from their affiliate TV stations, they will learn soon enough
that's not the case," he said "I've told broadcast executives
I'm happy to negotiate with them. As soon as Radio Shack buys
them antennas, we'll buy them, too."
(Reporting by Ronald Grover; Editing by Chris Reese, Dan
Grebler and Bob Burgdorfer)