Barry Diller Says He Would Sue Aereo If He Still Ran FOX

By Kevin Eck Comment

Barry Diller told Bloomberg Media Group chairman Andy Lack at Bloomberg’s “The Year Ahead:2014” conference he would fight Aereo if he still ran FOX.

“I would sue them and I would try and say something about consumers if I did so,” Diller told those in attendance.

The two spoke in-depth about the much contested streaming startup which is backed by Diller’s company IAC. Aereo allows subscribers to record broadcast television for a low monthly fee without reimbursing the content creators through retransmission fees.

“I think we’re on the side of the Angels,” said Diller about the startup which has, so far, been successful in court battles. “They don’t care about Aereo. What they care about is if we can survive then cable is going to run a game…and satellite…is going to run a game against them for essentially reducing, or not every year increasing, retransmission consent payments through the skies.”

He also said he doubts the NFL and Major League Baseball would follow through on their recent threats to pull their games from broadcast TV, “The chances of the NFL going off broadcast television, this is ‘the Super Bowl is not going to be on free broadcast television.’ I want to see that happen. They’re just making noise.”

Diller told those in attendance, Aereo opens up broadcast television to young people who want to watch the content but won’t pay $100 a month for it. He compared the streaming service to a store selling TV antennas. “If you can get RadioShack to pay for selling you an aerial that  you can put up on your house, then I’ll start paying.”

When asked about his chances on winning a battle in Supreme Court, Diller said he’s not so sure the fight will get that far. “We’re three for zero,” said Diller. “Now the question of whether the Supreme Court picks up a case is if there’s controversy, meaning one district court says this and then they have to rule. Look they may take it. But I think its at worst 50-50.”