Aereo planning fast expansion, marketing campaign

After Aereo won an initial victory that allows it to continue streaming signals of broadcast stations, the networks are asking an appellate court to place their case on an expedited schedule.

In two separate filings made to the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals on Thursday, the broadcasters argued that a quicker appeal is needed as Aereo plans to expand while the case makes its way through the legal process. They cited Aereo investor Barry Diller’s comments to Bloomberg News that, after the legal victory, Aereo was planning to “really start marketing” and to expand to most major markets by the end of 2013.

On July 11 U.S. District Judge Alison Nathan turned down the broadcasters’ request for a preliminary injunction to stop Aereo, which delivers to subscribers streamed broadcast signals captured from a farm of dime-sized antennas.

“The rapid expansion of Aereo while the instant appeal is pending will greatly magnify the harm appellants are suffering, underscoring the need for an expedited appeal,” the broadcasters said in their filing. “While appellants will suffer mounting harms during a lengthy appeal process, Aereo will suffer no harm whatsoever from an expedited appeal.”

The broadcasters argue that Aereo will cause them “irreparable harm” by undermining ratings measurements and their ability to negotiate retransmission consent agreements with cable and satellite providers. They also say that Nathan erred in her comparison of the case to one in which the 2nd Circuit upheld the legality of Cablevision offering subscribers a remote DVR.

They noted that the median time for an appeal in the 2nd Circuit is 17.6 months, and call for opening briefs by Sept. 14; that Aereo file its briefs by Oct. 19; and that a reply brief be filed by Nov. 2.

ABC, CBS, NBC, Telemundo and WNJU-TV filed one of the briefs, while WNET, Thirteen, Fox Television Stations, Univision and PBS filed the other.

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