Aereo, the cloud-based Internet video service, closed on $34 million in Series C financing that it said will help it expand its service nationwide. Aereo CEO Chet Kanojia announced the news while speaking at the Citi Global Internet, Media and Telecom conference in Las Vegas.
Aereo's Series C investors include IAC, Gordon Crawford and Himalaya Capital Management, as well as existing investors Highland Capital Partners, FirstMark Capital and others. "Aereo has scaled very quickly in 365 days and this additional funding will allow us to maintain this rapid pace of growth," Kanojia said.
Aereo is currently available in 10 markets and is expected to launch five more markets by the end of the quarter. The service, which starts at $8 per month, is available for the iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch, and its Android app (which is currently in beta) will be supported by Android devices using version 4.1 or higher. Aereo is also supported by Chrome, Safari, IE 9, Firefox and more.
Aereo's controversial service, however, has been involved in a long-standing dispute with TV broadcasters, which question the legality of the service. In October the broadcasters asked the Supreme Court to review a decision from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit that lets Aereo continue operating while a trial over its legality plays out. The broadcasters have asked the Supreme Court to block Aereo from delivering its services until a decision is made.
In addition, cable operators, such as Cablevision (NYSE: CVC), have been critical of Aereo. In December, the cable MSO filed a petition with the U.S. Supreme Court aimed at shutting down Aereo's service. The MSO maintains that Aereo is illegal, arguing that its service violates U.S. copyright law.
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