Five months after being whipped by the broadcast goliaths at the U.S. Supreme Court, the scrappy streaming TV startup has finally thrown in the towel. The company has filed for Chapter 11 protection, according to an announcement CEO Chet Kanojia posted on Aereo’s website today.
"While we had significant victories in the federal district courts in New York and Boston and the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, the reversal of the Second Circuit decision in June by the U.S. Supreme Court has proven difficult to overcome," Kanojia conceded in a blog post titled “The “Next Chapter.”
Perhaps The Final Chapter would have been more apropos.
“The U.S. Supreme Court decision effectively changed the laws that had governed Aereo’s technology, creating regulatory and legal uncertainty. And while our team has focused its energies on exploring every path forward available to us, without that clarity, the challenges have proven too difficult to overcome.”
Before its devastating Supreme Court loss, the Barry Diller-backed upstart allowed subscribers in several U.S. cities to watch and record live TV signals via an innovative cloud-based antenna and DVR combo for $8 to $12 a month, much to the ire of big broadcasters.
Not long after the Supreme Court deemed Aereo’s service “for all practical purposes a traditional cable system,” the company, in a desperate last bid for survival, pulled an about-face and argued that it should be allowed to operate like one. Once again, it got shot down.
Three weeks ago, Aereo gutted its staff in New York and Boston, leaving only a skeleton crew of executives to man the sinking ship. The move hinted that the company’s final hour was nigh.
Under Chapter 11 protection, Kanojia said Aereo can “maximize the value of its business and assets without the extensive cost and distraction of defending drawn out litigation in several courts."
After so many exhausting, fruitless court battles, can you blame them?