Raging against the dying of the light for nearly five months following its devastating setback in the U.S. Supreme Court, streaming service Aereo announced Friday that it will liquidate its assets through Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.
"Even with 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," said Aereo CEO and founder Chet Kanojia, in a statement. "The U.S. Supreme Court decision effectively changed the laws that had governed Aereo's technology, creating regulatory and legal uncertainty for the company. And while our team has focused its energies on exploring every path forward available to us, without that clarity, those challenges have limited our options."
Recent discussions among Federal Communications Commission officials about granting multichannel video programming distributor (MVPD) status to streaming media companies spurred hope that Aereo might get help in its post-Supreme Court ruling quest to be considered a pay-TV operator, and thus be granted to the right to negotiate broadcast retransmission licenses.
If Aereo couldn't take broadcast signals and stream them for free, perhaps it could pay for them. But the legal and regulatory climate is not moving fast enough to match the company's burn rate.
"We have traveled a long and challenging road," Kanojia added. "We stayed true to our mission and we believe that we have played a significant part in pushing the conversation forward, helping force positive change in the industry for consumers. We feel incredibly lucky to have had the opportunity to build something as meaningful and special as Aereo."
The ultimate demise of Aereo comes a day after DirecTV (NASDAQ: DTV) chairman Mike White conceded at a Boston College speaking engagement that his satellite service contemplated launching a very similar service, which would stream the broadcast signals of the major networks.
"The technology's not the challenge," White told students, faculty and the Boston Business Journal. "We just didn't think it was legal."
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