The Scary Aereo Content Court Case

This case isn’t just about whether a second party can capture over-the-air TV signals and sell them to mobile customers.

It’s about the future of all content including radio.

Right now, broadcasting is out and on-demand is on the ascent. 

Aereo, a company backed by the man who built the Fox TV Network Barry Diller, will defend themselves against almost every traditional media company that contends Aereo is violating their copyrights by using thousands of tiny antennas to capture broadcast signals without paying fees.

But wait, Aereo is winning in lower courts. 

The desperate cable, network TV and establishment content producers are throwing this Hail Mail to the Supreme Court because with the highest court, anything can happen.

It’s all ridiculous and yet a serious wake up call.

If Aereo wins, mark my words, the business of making local TV stations available as a stream on mobile devices will go over no better than Jeff Smulyan’s idea to turn a smartphone into a dumb radio.

I always say, keep your eyes on the next generation.

They don’t want TV.

They want content.

They don’t want broadcasting.

They want on-demand.

They don’t want you to decide what they will watch.

They will be the new program director.

And when they want to binge on your content, they expect you to make it available to binge with their second screen in their hands.

What’s worse is that Aereo wants to charge consumers for co-opting content rights from over the air broadcasters.  Lots of luck with that.  I can’t wait to pay for that mindless tripe called local TV news or a rerun of Modern Family.

In one way the Aereo case doesn’t matter because the business itself doesn’t pass the generational media test.

What does matter is that if the Court approves content poaching of this kind, all content producers will have to rethink their business plans.

Network TV execs are already thinking out loud – they’ll shut down their over-the-air stations and move to cable. 

If you’re in the content business, don’t worry about the Aereo case, worry about our general inability to accept the new terms of audience engagement I outlined above.

Yes, even radio will have to create content in ways that make it an on-demand medium rather than a jukebox or computerized radio station.  And this can be done which is why it is prominently on the agenda at my March 26th Philly media conference.

You can’t be only a broadcaster in an on-demand world unless you only want old demographics and even they may opt for on-demand options as the trend catches on.

So, what to do?  Stop broadcasting?


Re-engineer your stations in a different way that cooperates with how audiences will want to consume your content today.

This can be done in months – or at least you can get started and avoid costly mistakes that you’ll regret later.

I hope you’ll find this topic compelling enough to join us for this one-day learning session – our fifth annual media refresher.

The Philly conference is focusing on 7 critical things that will make you a better broadcaster or digital entrepreneur.

  1. Disrupting radio.  Digital competitors are doing it to us now but the answer is plain and simple:  we must do it to ourselves.  They are winning.
  2. Master digital.  Digital isn’t an add-on to broadcasting.  You’ll see it all differently when you go to school on how effectively a radio station can start a profitable separate digital revenue stream.  I will share.
  3. Dominate social media.  Facebook and Twitter are out, don’t exit with them.  Social networks you start, run, monetize and keep all the profits from – that’s what we’re going to get to. 
  4. Reinvent radio.  There are 15 to 25 things that can be done within a week of leaving Philly that cost your nothing more than the price of admission that can transform an antiquated approach to radio to one that even the next generation can embrace.  Real take-home pay.
  5. Video is your future.  I will play video from the best of the best – entrepreneurs who haul in $3 million a year by doing a free 5-minute weekly video.  No commercials, banner ads, product placement or subscription fees.  But a special secret path to monetization that you should adopt.  I’m going to. 
  6. Conduct a Millennial makeover.  Generational listeners 30 and under are available to you for the taking if you know what they want.  And as a USC professor who developed courses in generational media, I’m going to share the latest with you. 
  7. Time-shift radio.  Broadcasting is out.  Audiences want on-demand.  Binge watching is in.  Morning shows are no longer morning shows.  This is a definitive look at how to time shift radio and catch the hottest trend of the past two years. 

I’m putting lots of time aside this year for questions.

This event will not be available by stream or video – only live and in person. 

I can’t wait to share my enthusiasm and knowledge with you in person.

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Complimentary breakfast starts at 8 am.  Session begins at 9 am at the beautiful Rittenhouse Hotel.  Buffet lunch and all breaks included.   Conference ends at 4 pm.