Media investor Gordy Crawford bets on Aereo
Aereo, the start-up company that transmits local broadcast television signals via the Internet, said it has raised $34 million in a new round of financing that it will use to expand its service, which is currently available in 10 cities.
Among Aereo’s new backers is Gordy Crawford, a well-known figure in media circles who retired last year from Capital Research and Management, where he oversaw the firm’s entertainment and media investments for decades. Crawford is very close to media mogul Barry Diller, whose company IAC is a key investor in Aereo.
Launched in 2012, Aereo charges its subscribers between $8 and $12 a month for the service, which includes a small antenna to receive the signals and access to a cloud-based digital video recorder that can hold up to 60 hours of programming.
Because Aereo is not compensating the owners of the television stations whose signals it is transmitting, broadcasters claim it is violating copyright laws. So far, the courts have sided with Aereo. Last fall, broadcasters, led by CBS and Fox, asked the Supreme Court to shut down Aereo.
In their filing to the Supreme Court, the broadcasters said a lower court decision favoring Aereo “threatens to upend” the television industry by “blessing a business model that retransmits ‘live TV’ to paying customers without obtaining any authorization or paying a penny to copyright owners.”
Besides IAC and Crawford, other Aereo investors include Highland Capital Partners, FirstMark Capital and Himalaya Capital Management.
Follow Joe Flint on Twitter @JBFlint.
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