The legal battles between internet television service Aereo and the broadcast networks whose signals it retransmits are actually helping the company grow, says Barry Diller. The media mogul, whose IAC is a prominent backer of Aereo, said he's "happy the broadcasters sued us in such a noisy way" at the D11 conference in Los Angeles today. Diller admitted that Aereo has "very few" customers at the moment, but the increased attention from the lawsuits has boosted subscriber numbers.
"I don't think closed systems are going to hold."
Diller also said that the plan is to grow Aereo beyond broadcast television into original content, as Netflix and Amazon have done. "I'm hopeful that if Aereo works, if we reach 15 to 20 million homes with a billing relationship, we can have our own content." And Diller also seemed open to working with networks directly, saying that he would "love to" retransmit what's currently on cable systems. But he insisted that Aereo's goal is to "move the centricity to the internet" and change the way television is packaged and sold.
"Cable is, for as long as it lasts, this great closed system where 90 percent of subscribers support [a channel like] ESPN that's only watched by 10 percent," said Diller. "That's a great plot ... I think that's going to bust on its own. I don't think closed systems are going to hold."
"The idea of paying thousands and thousands of dollars a year for a package of cable channels you don't watch makes no sense."