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Summary:

Aereo won’t say how many subscribers it has gained from CBS going dark on Time Warner Cable, but there’s data showing that interest in Aereo is definitely up.

aereo devices

It’s been two weeks since CBS went dark on Time Warner Cable, and it looks as if Aereo may be the unexpected winner of the prolonged and very public fight about the amount of money the cable company has to pay CBS to carry its programming. While the New York-based online video startup, which lets users watch CBS over the internet, isn’t giving out any subscriber numbers, Google Trends reveals that it has seen a nice bump in interest ever since the conflict started. Check out a comparison of search volume for Aereo (blue) and Time Warner Cable CBS (red) in New York below:

aereo time warer cable chart

Search volume for Aereo is displayed in blue, searches for Time Warner Cable CBS are displayed in red.

Aereo has been operating in New York since March 2012, offering consumers streaming access to live feeds from CBS, ABC, NBC and other broadcast networks. The company has kept mum on its subscriber numbers, and a spokesperson declined to discuss how the CBS blackout on Time Warner Cable has impacted its business.

However, the startup has gotten a lot more visibility through the dispute, in part because Time Warner Cable is publicly telling its customers that they can use the service to access CBS while it’s unavailable on its own cable service. CBS is also blocking Time Warner Cable customers from accessing its programming on CBS.com, leading many to look for it elsewhere.

It would be ironic if that interest actually led to real revenue gains for Aereo: CBS is fighting with Time Warner Cable about the amount of money it has to pay to carry CBS and its cable channels, including Showtime. But because of the way it’s set up, Aereo isn’t paying broadcasters anything for their content. The big networks have failed to stop Aereo in court – and now, they might just succeed in making it popular.

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  1. JosephBloughs Friday, August 16, 2013

    I just don’t see CBS winning this fight no matter what it does. Aereo (who CBS loathes) will grow for people who have to have CBS. TWC can continue to tell CBS no deal, in which case they can give their content for free to TWC in order to continue reaching these households (the only scenario where TWC would be compelled by law to carry it). People can drop TWC at this point for another provider (a tough thing to do when your internet is bundled with the service), live with it, or add Aereo as an inexpensive a la carte. Either way Aereo is turning out to be every bit as disruptive as was expected, perhaps even more.

  2. Let’s get something straight….Aereo is not the disruption here. It’s the greed of the cable industry and networks that will spell their ultimate demise.

    1. It is definitely the greed of the Time Warner Cable executives. Time Warner Cable employees are paid less than any other cable company in the industry. The executives don’t care about their customers or their employees, all they want is your money. If you don’t believe me, just ask the employees from both companies and compare the differences. Don’t take out your frustration with TWC employees. Most of them are very hard working and they wish they can do more to help you.

      The only way to fight back is to switch to a different provider.

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