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American broadcaster CBS was turned off for millions of Time Warner Cable subscribers on Friday in the nation's two largest markets and other cities after the cable operator and CBS Corp failed to reach an agreement following weeks of court battles over carriage fees.
CBS retaliated by pulling videos of full episodes on CBS.com for customers with Internet access provided by Time Warner Cable in the affected markets.
It’s getting ugly.
But the battle could provide a market opportunity for online media tycoon and billionaire raconteur Alki David whose Filmon brand, unlike Barry Diller’s Aereo (subscription model), Filmon (freemium model) – is in almost all the major markets that Time Warner is shutting down – including Denver, Washington DC, Dallas, Chicago, NYC, Miami, Atlanta and Boston.
In an Interview with TV App Market Alki David said that Las Vegas, Seattle, Los Angeles, Phoenix and San Francisco markets are currently being legally restrained but he expects that to change come August 27th appeal date.
“We are adding 16 more cities in the coming six weeks,” said David. "The law is clearly in support of the technology to lease micro antennas to the consumer from which they can connect remotely over the internet."
"FilmOn employed this method about five years ago in Europe but the law was on our side with so we put that tech aside. We have since re-employed it as Aereo has proved to be resilient in court. The difference is that we are a free service and offer so much more content, an alexa comparison will see that FilmOn's traffic dwarfs Aereo's."
"We are currently in many more cities than aereo and plan to be in many more… our compelling content offering includes 500 Live and linear channel plus 45 000 Videos On Demand. For free!" exclaimed David.
FilmOn offers both free and pay subscription packages including access to over 500 live streaming TV channels and video on demand channels, which includes programming in multiple languages. Channel line-up varies in each country where it can be received.
Aereo is currently only available in New York City, Atlanta and in the Boston area (including southern Vermont & New Hampshire).
Both Filmon and Aereo provide their service by leasing to each user – an individual remote antenna, which, via a legal loophole, distinguishes them from purely internet-based streaming services and allows for re-streaming of Free to Air TV.
"Aereo's technology relies on Antenna servers", said David. "Ours have antennas and user accounts in one place. We have REAL antennas - Aereo's are gimmicky micro-antennas that sit on a separate server to the actual DVR the consumer uses. There's no discrepancy in our system."
From the Arlington Cardinal:
Time Warner Cable has accused CBS of demanding fees in certain big cities that are much higher than what the cable operator pays in other parts of the United States. The blackout could have an effect on Aereo and Filmon.tv, which are two services that provide local television via the Internet to a user or subscriber's computer or Apple iPad or other mobile device.
And both companies have been hammering in court with the Networks.
FilmOn and Alki David have been involved in several legal issues over programming including the carriage of major U.S. broadcast channels, such as CBS, NBC, ABC and Fox. This resulted in requiring FilmOn to drop these channels in 2011. In 2012 however the channels were all returned after appeals were lodged in Federal Court and FilmOn launched its FilmOn Air X antenna farm.
From the Hollywood Reporter:
Despite the fact that Alki agreed to pay the networks $1.6 million to resolve the 2012 lawsuit, he's moving forward — and a quick look at FilmOn's website shows that he has resumed streaming network TV. He points to Aereo's system of having individual antennas assigned to individual customers and says that if a judge has blessed that approach, there should be no reason why his own version of that system shouldn't pass legal muster.
"We have deployed over 2.5 million antennas," he says, "in major cities all around the country."
On March 1, 2012, Aereo was sued by a consortium of network broadcasters who argued that Aereo infringed their copyrighted material and sought a preliminary injunction against the company. On July 11, Federal Judge Alison Nathan denied this injunction, citing as precedent the 2008 Cablevision case, which established the legality of cloud-based streaming and DVR services.
In a subsequent interview with CNET, founder and CEO of Aereo Chet Kanojia asserted:
“With one step, we changed the entire TV industry. The television industry and its evolution are now starting towards the Internet and that was stopped until Aereo came along...And I think as consumers start migrating to the Internet, new programming and new content are going to come in.”
And most recently, On Thursday, August 2nd, the major US television networks urged a Washington federal court to block both Aereokiller LLC and FilmOn.TV Networks Inc. from streaming copyrighted television programs, a move that comes as part of the networks' most recent effort to stop the online broadcasts.
According to Law360:
Fox Broadcasting Co., NBC Studios LLC, American Broadcasting Cos. Inc. and CBS Broadcasting Inc. lodged a joint bid for a preliminary injunction that would prohibit Aereokiller and FilmOn.TV — collectively known as FilmOn X — from retransmitting the networks' TV programs over the Internet.
And so the battle continues.
Editors note: Alki David and Filmon are sponsoring TV App Market's TV Hackfest in London 2013! Come join us in London at Earl's Court 2 on October 22-23 for the TV Hackathon which is part of Apps World 2013 - free to attend exhibition with over 250 exhibitors plus conference sessions with some of the top brands in the world! Alki will also be interviewed onstage on Filmon and his views on the future of TV.