Broadcasters still want the courts to pull the plug on Aereo, the streaming service that they say violates their copyrights. But that isn’t stopping the Barry Diller-backed company, which vigorously rejects the broadcasters’ claims, from pushing ahead with its expansion plan. Aereo says today that it will sign up customers across the entire New York City TV market — adding parts of New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Pennsylvania to the area it already serves in NYC’s five boroughs. That gives the company a potential audience of 19M people ahead of its planned effort this year to launch in 22 other markets. Aereo today also announced the launch of its first advertising campaign, mostly on billboards, phone kiosks and at key city transit points. Subscribers pay $8 a month (although they also can sign up for $1 a day or $80 per year) to access streamed versions of local broadcast programming (30 channels in NYC) as well as Bloomberg Television, with the DVR-like capability to record shows and fast forward through commercials. It works on the leading Internet browsers, AppleTV and Roku devices. Aereo’s expansion likely will increase the anxiety at broadcast and cable companies; they fear that it will encourage many pay TV subscribers to cut the cord. “Aereo just needs to siphon 10 or 20% of their revenue flow” to ruin their profit margins, The New Yorker‘s Ken Auletta observed this week.
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