×

Aereo Eliminates Unpopular Daily, Annual Pricing Plans

Legally embattled Internet TV startup now offers two service tiers

Internet TV startup Aereo, which broadcasters accuse of illegally poaching their TV signals, is streamlining pricing options to just two plans and scrapping the apparently unpopular per-day and annual options.

Aereo is keeping the base plan of $8 per month, which includes 20 hours of DVR storage, and the $12 monthly option which triples DVR storage to 60 hours (previously 40).

Aereo has not disclosed how many paying subscribers it has signed up in New York. The startup is expanding into Boston, with an invite-only period starting May 15, and expects to roll out to another 21 other U.S. markets later in the year.

Broadcasters have been trying to shut down Aereo, whose major backer is IAC chairman Barry Diller, since it launched in New York City last spring. The company claims it’s simply facilitating Americans’ right to free over-the-air TV, hosting teeny-tiny antennas at its data centers and slinging live and recorded video to users’ devices.

Separately, ABC this week will introduce “Watch ABC” mobile apps for streaming live local TV in select markets on tablets and smartphones. However, the service will require users to have a pay-TV subscription with a participating cable or satellite provider.

Last year, ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC, Univision and other broadcasters have filed copyright-infringement lawsuits against Aereo, claiming the company must pay retransmission fees the way cable and satellite TV providers do. So far, judges in the U.S. 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals have twice ruled against broadcasters’ requests for injunctions that would put the kibosh on Aereo, which is pre-emptively seeking a ruling ahead of its launch in Boston that the service is legal.

The case appears headed for the U.S. Supreme Court, given that an identical Internet streaming service — calling itself Aereokiller — was ruled illegal by the 9th Circuit last December. Broadcasters, trying to get Congress’ attention, have threatened to convert free over-the-air TV to cable channels if Aereo ultimately prevails.

With the new pricing structure, Aereo is dropping its “Try for Free” one-free-hour-per-day offer. Execs had touted that move as serving the public interest, by providing live news, during weather-related emergencies.

However, new Aereo customers will receive their first month of membership for free. The new pricing plans will go into effect on May 15.

“We looked at our data and it was clear, consumers want a more simple approach to pricing,” Aereo topper Chet Kanojia said in announcing the plans.

Popular on Variety

More Digital

  • News Corp

    News Corp Is Developing Knewz, a Service to Aggregate News Content Without 'Bias'

    Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp is aiming to fight back against internet behemoths Facebook and Google — which the company has accused of profiting off its content — with “Knewz,” a news-aggregation app that it says would include a wide range of sources and be free from “bent or bias.” The Knewz news was first reported [...]

  • Ann Sarnoff Warner Bros

    Ann Sarnoff Formally Takes Reins of Warner Bros. as CEO

    The Ann Sarnoff era at Warner Bros. has begun. Sarnoff formally took the reins as Warner Bros. chair-CEO on Thursday, two months after she was appointed to the post. Sarnoff told employees in a memo that she has been impressed by the company’s track record during the past year amid a period of upheaval for [...]

  • YouTube TV Adds Subscription Options for

    YouTube TV Adds Subscription Options for AMC Networks' Acorn TV, UMC

    Google’s YouTube TV now offers two more add-on channels to subscribers, under an expanded pact with AMC Networks: British TV service Acorn TV and UMC (Urban Movie Channel), which features a selection of black TV and film titles. Acorn TV’s add-on channel is now available via YouTube TV for $6 per month and UMC is [...]

  • homepod-white-shelf

    Apple Said to Prep Cheaper HomePod for 2020

    Apple is getting ready to introduce a cheaper version of its HomePod smart speaker in 2020, Bloomberg reported Thursday. The company is also working on a new version of its AirPod headphones for next year, according to Bloomberg. Apple didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. The new version of the HomePod is said [...]

  • Eminem’s Publisher Sues Spotify, Claiming Copyright

    Eminem’s Publisher Sues Spotify, Claiming Massive Copyright Infringement

    Eminem’s publishing company Eight Mile Style filed a major copyright infringement lawsuit against Spotify late Thursday, claiming that the streaming giant has no license to host about 250 of Eminem’s songs, while also taking aim at the Music Modernization Act, the federal law enacted last year to improve royalty payments for songwriters. The news was [...]

  • iQIYI headquarters building in Beijing

    China’s iQIYI in Talks for Indonesia Expansion

    Chinese streaming firm iQIYI is in negotiations to expand further into Southeast Asia through a venture with Indonesia’s Media Nusantara Citra. iQIYI announced its first step outside Chinese-majority territories in June, when it revealed a linkup in Malaysia with pay-TV leader Astro. It also operates in Taiwan. In April, the company said that it planned [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content