Aereo to Auction Off Streaming Assets, Broadcasters Get Approval
The good news is we're almost done with the Aereo stories. According to court papers, Aereo has received permission to auction its streaming video assets. The broadcasters responsible for bringing the startup down, however, will have final approval over all sales.
With no other options left, Aereo will receive bids for its technology on February 20th, with an auction to follow a few days later. The broadcasters will get weekly updates on the process from Aereo, and have a two week period following the auction where they can halt any sale they don't like. The concern is that Aereo's technology could be used in infringing ways by new buyers.
Under the agreement, the broadcasters can also examine Aereo's customer records before they're deleted. This will let the group, which includes CBS, NBC, and Fox, determine any damages owed in future court proceedings.
Engadget reports that Aereo had raised $95.6 million in venture capital funding, and is now down to $3.6 million.
Aereo's business model was to capture over-the-air broadcasts with personal antennae, letting subscribers stream live channels or record programs to a cloud DVR. While the company won several early court victories, a ruling against it in June by the Supreme Court effectively shut it down.
A loophole in copyright law says that nonprofits can retransmit broadcast content without a license, so this startup is a nonprofit.
While broadcasters had looked for a large payout, Aereo didn't have the money to give. The company is left with $800K in the bank.
The startup's creditors and investors can't be happy: Aereo's bankruptcy auction pulls in far less that the $4 million it was hoping for.
The streaming service looks to the courts to help it move past lawsuits and debts, and focus on a new strategy.
The startup is now barred from streaming live broadcasts nationwide, but could still find a business with time-shifted content.
In a 6-3 ruling, the court rejects Aereo's argument that it's more like a VCR than a cable company, forcing backers to eat their $100 million investment.