When the FCC made the decision allow OTT services to qualify as multi-channel video programming distributors, or MVPDs, many saw this as just the opening needed for Aereo to get back in business, following a crushing defeat in the supreme court. However, the bankrupt company has now been sold off in pieces, with TiVo coming away with the company’s trademarks. The auction of Aereo’s assets netted only about $2 million, far short of what investors were hoping for, meaning many of them will be walking away from the Aereo mess empty handed.
For those unfamiliar with the startup and the huge impact that it’s had on the TV industry, Aereo sold devices that acted as TV antennas, and for a subscription fee, streamed over-the-air content to users devices. While Aereo argued that this was no different than connecting an antenna to a television set, broadcasters alleged that Aereo was illegally retransmitting their broadcasts without paying them the required fees to do so, as cable and satellite companies do. The case worked its way up the courts, largely looking pretty good for Aereo, until the Supreme Court came down on the side of the broadcasters. Following that major setback, Aereo scrambled for a loophole that would allow them to continue to operate, even going as far as to request to be reclassified as a cable company, since the court had essentially labeled them as one. While the FCC eventually fulfilled this request, the money ran out just a few months too soon, and Aereo found itself in bankruptcy. Now that it’s been sold off in parts, chances are slim that it will be coming back, unless TiVo plans to use the name on a different product.