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 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.