Does Dish want to buy Aereo? Broadcasters would love to know

Here’s the latest chapter in the broadcaster’s fight against Aereo, the New York-based startup that is streaming over-the-air television over the internet: Fox (s NWS), Univision, PBS and others are trying to figure out what exactly the company has been discussing in its talks with Dish Networks (s DISH), which were first reported by the Wall Street Journal last week. The broadcasters subpoenaed Aereo as part of the discovery process for their lawsuit against the company, according to a Hollywood Reporter story from yesterday.

The motion seeks to uncover “any ‘actual, contemplated, considered, or proposed’ business arrangements” between Aereo and Dish as well as “offers or expressions of interest by Dish in acquiring Aereo’s assets,” according to passages quoted by the Reporter. Of course, Dish doesn’t want any of those discussions to be public, which is why the company is now trying to quash the subpoena.

Dish’s Charlie Ergen has been very vocal in his support for new TV business and distribution models, going as far as saying that “a lot of customers can live with Netflix and an… antenna, and YouTube.” Dish could possibly use Aereo to build a cheaper TV bundle by bypassing retransmission payments to local broadcasters — or maybe just lower these payments by threatening such a course.

Make sure to check out our paidContent Live conference in New York this month if you want to learn more about Aereo’s potential to shake up the TV industry – I’ll be interviewing Aereo CEO Chet Kanojia on stage, and will make sure to quizz him about Dish as well.