Aereo imposes large layoffs, but streaming TV service is not shutting down

4 Comments

Aereo’s bad year just got worse. The company said on Thursday that it will shut down its Boston office and lay off 43 employees, citing yet another adverse court ruling and its trouble obtaining additional investment.

According to Virginia Lam, a VP at Aereo, the company is not shutting down entirely:

“In an effort to reduce costs, we made the difficult decision to lay off some of our staff in Boston and New York. We are continuing to conserve resources while we chart our path forward. We are grateful to our employees for their loyalty, hard work and dedication. This was a difficult, but necessary step in order to preserve the company. We decline to comment further,” Lam wrote in an email.

News of the layoffs came via a company letter published by Boston Beat. According to LinkedIn, Aereo employed 53 people in its Boston office and 35 in New York.

The latest difficulties for Aereo, which offered a way for consumers to record over-the-air TV signals and play them on mobile devices, come after a federal judge decided in late October to impose a nation-wide injunction on the company.

Aereo had stopped broadcasting in August, after losing a 6-3 Supreme Court decision, and has since been attempting to obtain a license to operate as a cable company. Its efforts have so far been thwarted by regulators.

Aereo does have two slivers of hope. One is the latest court ruling, which imposed a national injunction of Aereo operating as a TV service, but refused to grant the broadcasters’ demand to also shut it down as a DVR service. Instead, the judge has said she will take a closer look at whether Aereo can avoid copyright liability if its service lets consumers record and play TV after a certain period of time (the Supreme Court said Aereo could not let consumers instantly retransmit live TV, but did not rule on the DVR question).

Aereo might also gain a break as a result of the FCC’s decision to consider new rules that would let so-called “over-the-top” services operate under the same regulatory regime as cable and satellite TV services.

Aereo, however, may be running out of time as it has no current revenue stream, and investors appear to have grown disenchanted.

(3:36pm ET This story was updated several times as more information became available)

4 Comments

Old Time Engineer

Aereo used junk science and legal ledgermain to try and skirt copyright laws. It didn’t work, and they’re paying the price for trying to be “cute.” No tears shed here.

Carlos T. Jackal

Good riddance. Any business based on copyright infringement needs to be smacked down hard.

Beau

So, the courts (government) shut this down. 43 People are losing their job. So, the government claims to have “created” 214,000 jobs, but how many did they “cut?” Here are 43 of them…..

Todd

“Aeroe, however, may be running out of time as it has no current revenue stream, and investors appear to have grown disenchanted.”

what a relief. I thought Aereo was in trouble.

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