Commentary

With Aereo Gone, Will Broadcasters Still Change Their Model For The Future?

Broadcasters won their big battle against Aereo, and broadcasting stocks on Wednesday immediately rose. CBS saw the biggest lift -- 6%, to $62.48. Some core station groups witnessed even better gains: Sinclair Broadcast Group soared 16% to $33.80; Media General 10% to $20.33; and Nexstar Broadcasting Group 14% to $48.81.

Did broadcasters dodge a bullet -- one that could have radically changed their industry? Yes, for now. Analysts say the Supreme Court decision against Aereo was narrow.

Aereo -- now an illegal reseller of broadcast content -- has very little chance of surviving. But other new companies will continue looking for new crevices where they can flourish. This gives the shivers to executives at broadcast networks and stations. (On the other side, even some cloud-based TV/media services are apparently worried.)

Even as networks like CBS – which expects some $2 billion in retransmission revenue by 2020 -- count their big new and growing revenue, they might be working on some emergency plans for down the line.

During its fight with Aereo, CBS floated the possibility of becoming a cable network. While many believe CBS would lose scale -- in distribution, viewers, and ultimately advertising revenues -- with that change, perhaps a transition into a cable network will be more viable in five, ten or 15 years.

Broadcast viewership continues to decline for the most part, even counting seven days of time-shifted viewing, a metric networks have pursued heavily this year in order to get more revenue from marketers.

If not an entire transition, some believe broadcast networks might adopt a hybrid-model -- part over-the-air network, part ad-supported cable network -- to protect themselves against future technologies.

Aereo is gone, but what flies next?

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