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Barry Diller to Pitch Aereo to Senate Committee

Commerce to examine online video
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Broadcast network exec-turned-Internet mogul Barry Diller will take advantage of his appearance before the Senate Commerce Committee Tuesday to pitch one of his newest investments, Aereo, a pay TV upstart that streams broadcast channels via the Internet.

Diller is one of four witnesses called by the committee to examine online video and its impact on the future of TV for the business and consumers. As chairman and senior exec of IAC, Diller's company oversees more than 50 brands, including Ask.com, Mach, Com, Citysearch, Electus and Vimeo, he was a logical choice for the panel.

But it's Diller's newest endeavor, Aereo, that has caused the most controversy, facing lawsuits filed by broadcasters that claim his service is violating copyright law by retransmitting broadcast signals without permission.

In his testimony, Diller will position Aereo as part of the movement of content and video online and as a solution for preserving local broadcasts.

"Aereo...furthers government interests and does so at no cost to the federal taxpayer by letting consumers watch live, local broadcast television over the Internet," said Diller in an advance copy of his testimony. "Aereo is but one example of how the Internet is injecting some much needed competition into the video marketplace."

Arguing that online video is still young, Diller will urge lawmakers not to intervene. "At this time, Congress needs only to keep a careful watch as the marketplace develops. We know that incumbents have incentives to limit competitive threats, and Congress must be vigilant that the rules of the game favor entry and innovation," he said. "But consumer demand is a powerful force, and those who give consumers what they want will be rewarded in the marketplace."