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FilmOn is Back With “AereoKiller” That Lands Company Back in Court

Phillip Dampier May 28, 2013 Competition, Consumer News, FilmOn, HissyFitWatch, Online Video, Public Policy & Gov't, Video Comments Off on FilmOn is Back With “AereoKiller” That Lands Company Back in Court

filmon-smBack in the fall of 2010, British billionaire Alki David fired a salvo against major broadcast networks in the United States and United Kingdom with the introduction of FilmOn, an online cable system offering unlimited viewing of broadcast networks from both countries for around $10 a month. By early 2011, lawsuits from various networks forced the removal of the most-watched channels, and most of the incentive for subscribers to keep paying for the service.

But David has never given up on FilmOn, and borrowing a page from Aereo’s business plan, he has brought back most of the major American networks on his relaunched platform, dubbed AereoKiller.

The company claims it is now using individual over-the-air antennas to receive broadcast stations from the New York or Washington, D.C. area, selling 24/7 streaming access for $9.99 per month or $99 a year. DVR service is sold at prices ranging from $2.95 a month to $190 a year, depending on the number of hours recorded.

Among the stations included:

New York

  • WPIX11.svgWCBS (CBS)
  • WNBC (NBC)
  • WNYW (FOX)
  • WABC (ABC)
  • Bounce TV (via WWOR subchannel)
  • WPIX (CW)
  • WNET (PBS)/WNET-Kids
  • WNJU (Telemundo)

Washington, D.C.

  • WRC-TVWRC (NBC)
  • WTTG (FOX)
  • WJLA (ABC)
  • WUSA (CBS)

There seem to be no geographic restrictions to prevent out of area viewers from subscribing, and FilmOn offers viewing on the desktop, as well as through iOS and Android apps.

David

David

FilmOn may have avoided streaming west coast stations because a California court found in favor of broadcasters who sued to shut down the operation three years earlier. But it ultimately will not keep David’s upstart service out of the courts in the east.

Last week, three major television networks and Washington, D.C. station owner Allbritton Communications filed suit against FilmOn for streaming signals from the nation’s capital without permission.

Based on the track record of earlier ventures, customers may want to avoid subscribing at the annual package price. Historically, broadcasters have fought and won temporary restraining orders that block the streaming services until the case makes its way through legal proceedings. Aereo, which streams New York area television stations exclusively to New York City customers has proven the exception and continues to run, at least for now.

Broadcasters consider stopping “dime-sized” antenna farm streaming services like Aereo and AereoKiller a top priority, because networks and local stations earn lucrative retransmission consent rights fees from cable, satellite, and telco-TV providers used by at least 90 percent of the viewing audience. Should these alternative technologies be found legal and not in violation of copyright, pay television providers could potentially license and incorporate similar technology into their respective set-top boxes and avoid paying license fees to station and network owners.

FilmOn’s introductory promotional video features some boastful claims from founder Alki David that are perhaps more wishful thinking than reality, but PlayOn has persisted despite broadcaster lawsuits by creating and distributing original live and recorded programming.  (8 minutes)

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