I'm pleased to be joined once again by Colin Dixon, senior partner at The Diffusion Group, for the 145th edition of the VideoNuze-TDG Report podcast. In this week's podcast Colin and I talk about what resonates most for us about Aereo, based on my interview with its founder and CEO Chet Kanojia, earlier this week (Part 1 here and Part 2 here).
Foremost for both of us is Aereo's simplicity and ease of access. Aereo aligns with the expectations of digital natives, people who expect self-service offerings that have low entry barriers and commitment levels. Aereo capitalizes on key vulnerabilities of today's pay-TV services - not just that they are expensive, but that they are complicated, with various tiers, channels, fees, clunky set-top boxes and special offers tied to extended contracts, all of which are confusing and burdensome to many people, especially digital natives.
Embedded in Aereo's simplicity/convenience value proposition is its focus. Aereo is not trying to be all things to all people; rather it is starting by offering flexible broadcast TV reception, mainly for use on iPads, for a low daily cost. We were both struck by Chet's comparison of Aereo to the early days of cable TV. While their architectures are fundamentally different, their core initial offer of improving reception and access to broadcast TV programming, is similar. In this respect, you gotta love the durability of broadcast TV as a value driver.
However, cable's early model of cleaning up broadcast signal delivery eventually gave way to retransmission consent fees. For both Colin and me, this is the area that remains murkiest for Aereo. While it won the first round in court, it faces a long journey of legal challenges ahead. In particular, Colin is not convinced of Chet's belief that should Aereo adversely impact retrans fees, cross ownership of broadcast assets would enable media conglomerates to remain whole by shifting around fees to cable assets.
Finally, we are both impressed with how Aereo is capitalizing on so many of today's key technology and consumer behavioral trends. These include the declining cost of IP video delivery, storage costs and processing power, along with the rise of cloud computing, mobile devices (namely the iPad) and the shift to on-demand viewing. Chet views Aereo as a "platform" that unites all of these into a compelling consumer offering. We agree. In particular, its low, "success-based" capex model means Aereo should be able to rollout quickly and inexpensively. I draw a contrast with Google's costly fiber buildout in Kansas City.
Chet downplays Aereo's disruptive impact, but Colin and I agree it's potentially significant. Time will tell.
Listen in to learn more!