Fox says Aereo may drive them off air

Chase Carey, president and COO of News Corp., told NAB Fox will consider scrapping FTA broadcasting if the legal system does not force live streaming outfits such as Aereo to pay to transmit Fox’s signal. The dual revenue stream of retransmission fees and advertising is critical he said.

Carey said News Corp. could make Fox a subscription-only service if Aereo prevails in court. “A [different] business solution is the path we’ll pursue if we don’t get our rights protected any other way.” Carey said he was disappointed in a recent federal appeals court ruling had found for Aereo, which sells digital subscriptions featuring broadcast content but does not pay the broadcasters retransmission fees.

News Corp later released a statement: “We have no choice but to develop business solutions that ensure we continue to remain in the driver’s seat of our own destiny.  One option could be converting the Fox broadcast network to a pay channel, which we would do in collaboration with both our content partners and affiliates.”

Aero responded with a statement of its own: “It’s disappointing to hear that Fox believes that consumers should not be permitted to use an antenna to access free-to-air broadcast television… Having a television antenna is every American’s right.”

According to the New York Times, Univision has backed Fox’s stand, with Chairman Haim Saban saying they were also considering going pay-TV.

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