Aereo tweaks subscriptions, seeks dismissal of copyright litigation

In a busy start to the week for Aereo, the company got rid of some of its payment options, identified the next market where it will introduce services and asked a federal court in New York to throw out copyright lawsuits brought against it by broadcasters.

Aereo asked the U.S. District Court in New York for summary judgment on broadcasters' claims that its service directly infringes on their public performance copyrights. If granted, a summary judgment ruling would decide the case in favor of Aereo without a trial. 

Another legal victory for Aereo, should it get one, would help clear the way for further deployment of its service. But most legal observers expect the case may ultimately be decided by the Supreme Court. And a broadcaster request that a full panel of judges on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit hear the case after a three-judge panel sided with Aereo remains pending.

Meanwhile, Aereo is moving forward by making other changes such as tweaking its subscription options. The online video start-up company said it will now sell only monthly subscription plans, no longer offering a daily or annual option. In another new twist to Aereo's pricing plan, all new customers will get their first month free. 

"We looked at our data and it was clear, consumers want a more simple approach to pricing," Chet Kanojia, Aereo's CEO, said in a press release. Aereo will offer an $8 and $12 monthly package. The higher-priced plan includes the ability to record two shows simultaneously and an extra 40 hours of DVR storage.

Aereo also announced it will begin offering service to customers in Atlanta who have preregistered for Aereo on June 17. A week later, it will open up the service to all eligible customers in the Atlanta designated market area. The company said it will carry programming from 27 local TV channels in Atlanta along with Bloomberg Television.

The announcements come despite assurances from broadcasters that Aereo will face more legal challenges as it adds new markets. Aereo has asked the same federal court in New York where it has already received favorable rulings to retain jurisdiction over these challenges. A decision on that request has not yet arrived.

For more:
- Aereo issued this press release
- and this press release
- read Aereo's memorandum in support of its motion for summary judgment here

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