Aereo scales back, shutting down Boston office and laying off some NYC staff

In an expected move, Aereo will shutter its Boston office on Nov. 12, a move that will see 43 employees laid off. The online video provider will also lay off an undisclosed number of employees at its New York City headquarters.

As reported by VentureBeat, Aereo sent notice to the state of Massachusetts on Nov. 6 that it would be shutting down its Summer Street office in downtown Boston. A few additional employees will "remain temporarily to wind up operations."

"In an effort to reduce costs, we made the difficult decision to lay off some of our staff in Boston and New York," Virginia Lam, Aereo SVP of communications and government relations, told FierceOnlineVideo. "We are continuing to conserve resources while we chart our path forward. We are grateful to our employees for their loyalty, hard work and dedication. This was a difficult, but necessary step in order to preserve the company."

Aereo is not shutting down, but is definitely paring down its staff in an effort to reduce expenses as it finds its way forward. Lam said that about a dozen members of the executive team will remain following the layoffs.

No additional information was available on whether Aereo will shut down its other offices around the country.

The embattled OTA-to-OTT provider stopped its streaming operations this summer following a landmark Supreme Court decision that ruled its innovative service--which leased dime-sized antennas and cloud-based DVRs to subscribers so they could stream over-the-air signals to their viewing devices--violated broadcasters' copyrights.

An injunction imposed by a district court judge in October made Aereo's further streaming efforts all but impossible. Investors are backing off as well, making funding all but impossible, too.

"(D)uring the last 60 days, the company has been actively seeking additional investments, either by way of an acquisition by another company or in the form of additional investments from both new investors and current investors," an Aereo letter to Boston employees announcing the layoffs explained. It also said the Oct. 23 injunction has dissuaded any potential investors.

With little money left, Aereo is stripping down to a skeleton crew to wait out its last best hope: a change in the definition of MVPDs (multichannel video programming distributors) by the FCC that would allow some OTT providers to obtain that classification. If it's considered an MVPD, Aereo might then be able to swing back into operation under rules that require broadcasters to license their content to MVPDs for retransmission.

For more:
- VentureBeat has this story
- CNN Money has this story

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