The Wall Street Journal reports that web TV startup Aereo has discussed partnerships with television providers and ISPs in order to expand its service to more markets — but so far talks haven't proven successful given the company's ongoing legal difficulties. One potential partnership scenario reportedly includes AT&T, which may consider bundling data offerings with Aereo's video service. Aereo is also reportedly discussing partnerships with pay-TV providers like Dish Network, but faces challenges with these distributors; WSJ reports that satellite TV provider DirecTV considered a partnership with Aereo but dismissed a partnership after deciding the company's legal challenges were too risky. None of the distributors or ISPs involved in talks with Aereo have confirmed their interest in the company.
Despite claims that the company could reach 100 cities within a year, the service has expanded slowly; the company received $38 million in new funding in January, announcing it would reach 22 new cities in 2013. Aereo continues to face legal challenges, after it was immediately sued by major broadcasters for copyright infringement when it launched in New York City in March, 2012. Aereo has argued that its service is legal because it is similar to television antennas that enhance broadcast signals in the home — an argument that hasn't convinced broadcasters, which object to its use of data centers to assign every customer their own remote antenna. While legal threats may post problems for potential suitors, they haven't deterred the company from aggressively pursuing expansion plans; as Aereo CEO Chet Kanojia told The Verge in January, right now the company is ignoring the legal proceedings and focusing on reaching more markets.