Aereo asks FCC for pay-TV operator status

Aereo is asking the FCC to grant it status as a multichannel video programming distributor, a distinction that would breathe life into the stifled streaming service by letting it sign broadcast retransmission deals.

On Friday, Aereo filed a brief with the Federal Communications Commission, seeking classification as an MVPD. "We believe that clarifying the MVPD definition to narrowly include linear online video services like Aereo's would have clear benefits to consumers, creators and distributors alike," wrote Aereo founder and CEO Chet Kanojia in a Monday blog post, announcing the FCC filing.

"We believe that creating regulatory parity and a clear set of rules among linear video programming systems will increase investment and competition in the video programming market, allow new entrants to emerge and provide consumers with new and innovative video products," he added.

Aereo has been seeking MVPD status since the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that it can't stream broadcast signals to its subscribers without paying in late June. Being classified as an MVPD would entitle Aereo to a statutory retransmission license, meaning it could continue streaming broadcast signals to IP devices but pay for the programming.

In July, the Copyright Office refused to grant Aereo MVPD status, as did a Manhattan federal court. But it was reported in September that the FCC was considering granting such status for online companies like Aereo.

Reads Aereo's filing: "Aereo's experience in the market has demonstrated that consumers want and will subscribe to a service that provides convenient access to local broadcast television programs via the internet for a reasonable monthly fee. Such services appeal not only to so-called "cord-cutters" and "cord-never" consumers who cannot afford high-priced monthly bundled subscription packages, but also to consumers looking to add convenient mobile access to their existing MVPD subscriptions and personal recordings."

For more:
- read this Aereo FCC filing
- read this Aereo blog post
- read this Deadline Hollywood story

Related links:
Aereo urges FCC to expand MVPD definition, retrans rules
Rumor mill: Aereo-like platforms may be given program licensing rights by FCC
Multiscreen provider Nimble TV expands to Chicago, draws scrutiny from pay-TV lawyers
Judge strikes down Aereo's 'emergency' attempt to resume service
CBS' Moonves: Aereo never tried to work with us