The battle over wireless streaming service Aereo’s retransmission of broadcast network programing is escalating.
Speaking at a conference in California on Tuesday, CBS (NYSE:CBS) CEO Les Moonves told attendees that his network could switch from a broadcast to a subscription-only cable network in just “a few days.” Moonves insisted that the transmission of CBS’ broadcast signal by Aereo without fees paid to the network was illegal since Aereo was charging subscribers for the service, Bloomberg noted.
A number of broadcast networks, including CBS, Comcast‘s (NASDAQ:CMCSA) NBC, Disney‘s (NYSE:DIS) ABC and News Corp.‘s (NASDAQ:NWSA) Fox, have sued Aereo over its failure to pay fees to transmit their programing across its wireless network of antennas.
The brainchild of media mogul Barry Diller, Aereo’s service is currently limited to just certain parts of New York City, but it plans to expand to 22 cities nationwide. Broadcasters clearly view the service as a threat to the carriage fees they charge cable and satellite providers to transmit their channels.
Last month, News Corp. issued a similar threat, warning that the Fox network could adopt a subscription-only model if the courts rule in Aereo’s favor.
Shares of CBS rose more than 1% in Thursday pre-market trading.