Courtroom challenges haven't put a damper on Aereo's ambitions.
The upstart TV service announced today that over the course of 2013 it plans to expand beyond its birthplace to 22 cities nearly coast to coast, from Boston in the East to Salt Lake City in the West and Birmingham, Ala., down South. To date, the Barry Diller-backed streaming over-the-air TV service has been available only in New York City.
Investors, too, still seem intrigued by the company's prospects. Aereo, based in Long Island City, N.Y., also said today that it has closed a $38 million Series B round of financing, led by existing investors IAC and Highland Capital Partners, and including other backers from its Series A funding round.
Aereo's antenna/DVR technology allows consumers to watch live, local over-the-air broadcast television on certain Internet-connected devices. And TV broadcasters are none too happy about that.
The startup was quickly sued by the likes of ABC, CBS (the parent of CNET), Fox, NBC Universal, and Telemundo, which alleged in a lawsuit last year that the service violates their copyrights and that Aereo must pay them retransmission fees. Aereo survived an effort by the broadcasters to get a preliminary injunction that would have halted its operations, but in a hearing in late November, a panel of appellate judges expressed skepticism about some of its key arguments.
In December, Aereo got a vote of confidence through a reported deal with Bloomberg TV to stream its news reports.
Membership plans for Aereo begin at $1 a day, $8 a month, or $80 a year, and a cable subscription is not required.
"Watching television should be simple, convenient, and rationally priced," Chet Kanojia, CEO of Aereo, said in a statement issued today in conjunction with an appearance at CES 2013 in Las Vegas. "Aereo's technology provides exactly that: choice, flexibility, and a first-class experience that every consumer deserves."
The full list of U.S. cities on Aereo's expansion list for 2013: Boston; Miami; Austin; Atlanta; Chicago; Dallas; Houston; Washington, D.C.; Baltimore; Detroit; Denver; Minneapolis; Philadelphia; Pittsburgh; Tampa; Cleveland; Kansas City; Raleigh-Durham, N.C.; Salt Lake City; Birmingham; Providence, R.I., and Madison, Wisc.