Broadcast Stocks Surge, Aereo's Future Unclear After Ruling

In March, Aereo's CEO said there was no "plan B" for his company if it lost its Supreme Court case. Now, Aereo faces that reality.
Posted at 11:38 PM, Jun 25, 2014

The dream of live network television streamed to your computer, phone or tablet is dead — and the future of Aereo, the company that made that dream possible, is pretty murky.

Aereo's entire business model went out the door with a ruling from the Supreme Court Wednesday.

Not a good sign for the company, especially considering what its CEO told Bloomberg in March.

JON ERLICHMAN: "If you were not to be successful at the Supreme Court level, is there a plan B for Aereo?"

CHET KANOJIA: "Nope. There's no plan."

And CNBC got a quote from Aereo's lead investor that sounded a lot like surrender.

"Barry Diller did just give a statement to our Becky Quick saying, 'We did try, but it's over.'"

Aereo was built on the concept of distributing very tiny, super high-tech antennas to its customers. Those antennas were capable of picking up TV signals from traditional broadcasters, which were then streamed to a subscriber's computer or mobile device for a cheap rate — cheap in part because Aereo wasn't paying traditional broadcasters retransmission fees.

But Wednesday's ruling was pretty financially kind to those broadcasters. Shares for the Maryland-based Sinclair jumped 14 percent, while CBS saw a 4 percent bump in its share price and the Tribune company rose 5 percent. (Via Flickr / Wally Gobetz, Flickr / Chad Horwedel)

CNN's Brian Stelter says it's all a great sign for the future of those broadcasters.

STELTER: "This is a huge win for all the major broadcasters who got together and filed a number of lawsuits against Aereo to shut it down and to shut out future competitors who could be like Aereo." 

So, for now, it'll be business as usual for broadcasters and viewers. The Verge writes, "For consumers, the ruling means no change in the high prices from cable companies and limited options for watching TV online or on mobile devices."

A statement from Aereo's CEO Wednesday didn't specify plans for the company's future, though it did call the Supreme Court ruling "a massive setback for the American consumer."