Broadcasters Determined To Stop Aereo 'Piracy'

Gavel-AEven after losing two court decisions in their efforts to shut down Aereo, broadcast executives continue to believe they can find a way to prevail as the litigation continues. The case is built around accusations that Aereo, which streams live TV online, is stealing signals by not compensating broadcasters for carriage rights.

“It’s very clear to us that it’s piracy,” Univision CEO Randy Falco said this week. “We think that we’ll be vindicated in the court, but until that time — like every business — we just have to look at all the options we have in front of us.”

Those options include shifting Univision and presumably sister network UniMás to pay-TV distribution. Univision investor Haim Saban recently echoed the comments of News Corp.’s Chase Carey, who suggested Fox may go that route if Aereo continues to exist.

Falco spoke on a Univision earnings call, where he said it’s early to forecast the upfront, but he is “optimistic about a share shift” — taking money from English-language competitors. Univision actually topped NBC for several weeks earlier this year.

In the first quarter, revenue for Univision’s TV division, which includes its networks and local stations, increased to $478.7 million compared to $449.5 million in the same period a year ago. Net income fell, but the company said its OIBDA (adjusted operating income before depreciation and amortization) jumped 22% to $224.2 million.



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