Aereo CEO Chet Kanojia: 'We're Winning the Arguments We're Making'
BY Julie Strickland
Aereo is so confident in its mission, there's no need for a backup plan, says its founder.
Internet TV streaming service Aereo may be making news headlines--and headaches for national broadcasters--but Chet Kanojia hasn't let that deter him.
The founder and CEO, who expands his company to Boston this week and Atlanta in June, spoke withBloomberg West Tuesday about the legal obstacles in his way. Broadcasters from Comcast to News Corporation and the Walt Disney Company have filed lawsuits asserting that Aereo, which streams stations without compensating them, violates the Copyright Act. But Kanojia, who is eyeing partnerships with cable channels and already has Bloomberg TV on deck, clearly feels differently.
"We're winning in the arguments we're making," he assured host Emily Chang. "I think there should be no controversy, I think it's absolutely the right thing, the right trend towards where consumers want to be."
He also said it's impossible to compare Aereo with traditional broadcasters as the two aren't remotely the same.
"Radio Shack sells you antennas. Sony sells you TVs with tuners built into them. TiVo sells you a DVR," he said. "There's a myriad of solutions available to consumers. We just happen to have one that is simplified and elegant that the consumer will actually use it."
Should the legal battle turn against him, Kanojia said he'll be fine. "There is no plan," he said, because he's determined to win this fight. "I really do approach this in a very simplistic way, which is there's absolutely nothing that should not allow a consumer to have an antennae. I have a firm belief that will be the case all the way through."
And he's fine with the risk. "Startups live with that risk on a daily basis," he said. "That's why we succeed, because we apply all of our resources on a very narrow area of innovation or focus. I have a great degree of faith that the amount of consumer reaction we're getting, will bear fruit."
JULIE STRICKLAND covers start-ups, small businesses, and entrepreneurial endeavors of all kinds for Inc. Her work has been published in Brooklyn Based and City Limits in New York, the Free Times in Columbia, SC, Real Travel Magazine in London, and Daegu Pockets in South Korea. She lives in New York City. @Jules5168