(Reuters) - CBS Corp Chief Executive Officer Leslie Moonves said the No. 1 rated broadcaster could offer its content directly to consumers over the Internet and cut off its traditional broadcast signal if the Aereo video streaming service is deemed legal.
Major broadcasters are challenging Aereo Inc’s use of their television broadcast signals without paying for them. The case will be argued in front of the U.S. Supreme Court in April.
“If Aereo should work, if they should win, which we don’t think will happen, we can go OTT with CBS,” Moonves said on Tuesday at an investor conference.
OTT is short for “over the top,” which is industry parlance for offering television over the Internet outside of a pay TV subscription.
“If the government wants to give them permission to steal our signal, then we will come up with some other way to get them our content and still get paid for it,” he said.
Aereo, which is backed by billionaire Barry Diller’s IAC/InterActiveCorp, does not pay broadcasters for use of programming that it retransmits to subscribers. Its users pay a low monthly fee to watch live or recorded programs on their computers or mobile devices.
Moonves has previously said that CBS would consider taking its free broadcast channel off the air and turning it into a cable network if Aereo prevails.
At the conference, Moonves added that CBS could go online “if there are systems out there that try to hurt us.”
Reporting by Liana B. Baker; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn