Remember Zediva, Insiders? The company had a brief but exciting life with a business model that allowed customers to rent DVDs at its service center, which were then streamed to users’ computers. The MPAA quickly sued Zediva into oblivion.
Now another company is trying to circumvent Hollywood’s costly content licensing jungle and cheaply give consumers the shows they want.
Aereo is a video startup that lets its users rent their own tiny antenna from the company’s data centers, which allows customers to view live TV online, on their mobile devices, or through set-top boxes. The service is cheap, with “passes” costing as little as $1 per day.
Upon its New York City-only launch last year, Aereo was quickly sued for copyright infringement by companies such as Disney, News Corp (Fox), and NBC. The legal battle continues, but an early ruling favored Aereo.
Now the determined little company has announced that it will launch in 22 cities in 2013, which will be a precursor to a nationwide rollout at some point.
Aereo CEO Chet Kanojia summed up his company’s appeal thusly:
“Watching television should be simple, convenient, and rationally priced . . . Customers want and deserve choice.”
Is Aereo going to succeed where Zediva failed—dancing around copyright laws? Or will the massive power of Hollywood’s legal teams smash the upstart startup back to the ground?