‘It’s a Free Over The Air Signal’: Diller Defends Aereo at D11 Conference

By Kevin Eck 

Speaking at the D11 executive conference in Rancho Palos Verdes, CA, IAC founder and chairman Barry Diller defended his new venture Aereo as a way to open up what he says is a closed system. Sitting next to CNN Worldwide president Jeff Zucker, Diller explained his motives for being the primary backer behind the technology, “I don’t want to go beat up broadcasters. I want to help move the centricity from fixed line or satellite closed systems to open internet systems. That’s what my interest is.”

But when asked by the moderator what he thought about the service, Zucker told Diller, “I think the key thing is that Broadcasters are going to continue to want to be paid for their intellectual property,” said Zucker. “If you’re offering that in a way that they’re not going to get paid for it I think that’s the issue.”

Diller’s Aereo technology allows subscribers to record over the air broadcast stations for $8.00 a month. The reason Aereo is so controversial is that it does so without paying broadcasters for the right to retransmit their content.

“I totally understand broadcasters being against this,” Diller told the audience. “Any incumbent wants to guard their wall as aggressively as they can. I’m kind of happy they sued us in such a noisy way because it’s helping get Aereo known to people.  So all this drama that is stirred up is actually good for us.”

Diller told the audience Aereo, which recently launched in Boston, plans to expand to 22 cities in the next six to eight months. He also said he’s hoping he can count on the younger audience to build his vision, “Young people who don’t now subscribe to cable are going to maybe think of Aereo as an alternative because they don’t like cable. They see no reason to pay $100 a month for things they mostly don’t watch.”