CNet is reporting that CBS Chief Executive Les Moonves has suggested that it would stop broadcasting if the broadcast streaming service Aereo won a forthcoming supreme court case about the service's legality.
Aereo uses a technology that pairs subscribers with one of thousands of tiny antennas that live in data centers in selected cities around the country. Broadcasters say that the service violates copyright statutes against public performance, but so far lower courts have ruled in Aereo's favor. Aereo's monthly subscription service does an end run around having to subscribe to cable packages, and as a result, networks don't get the subscription fees that come from relationships with cable companies.
If broadcasters moved off of the public airwaves, I'd be interested to see how many people would pay a monthly subscriptions to CBS. It is hard for broadcasters to deny that there is a slow but steady bleed of people cancelling cable altogether which seems like a harbinger of a future that allows users to go completely À la carte with their TV consumption. So while Moonves' statement feels like kind of an empty threat, maybe he's just the loudest and most forward thinking broadcast network boss.