Bloomberg News

Aereo Adding Antennas as New York City Service Sells Out (2)

January 31, 2014

Aereo Inc., the online-television company that’s battling broadcasters in the Supreme Court, said its service has hit the limits of its capacity in New York City and is sold out for now.

The service will be reopened to new subscribers once it gets more capacity, Aereo Chief Executive Officer Chet Kanojia said on his Twitter account. The New York-based company uses thousands of dime-sized antennas to obtain broadcast signals without paying fees to networks such as CBS Corp. (CBS:US) and 21st Century Fox Inc., drawing their ire.

Kanojia didn’t say how many subscribers Aereo has in New York. The company, backed by Barry Diller, operates in nine other U.S. cities, with plans to expand after it completed a $34 million round of funding this month.

“Our team has been working overtime to add more capacity in our existing markets,” Virginia Lam, an Aereo spokeswoman, said in an e-mail. “As soon as additional capacity is added, new consumers will be notified that they can sign up and create an Aereo account.”

The capacity strain is limiting new subscriptions just before the Super Bowl, which will air Feb. 2 on Fox and will be available through Aereo’s service.

The Supreme Court agreed earlier this month to hear an appeal by media companies including CBS, Fox, Walt Disney Co.’s ABC and Comcast Corp. (CMCSA:US)’s NBCUniversal, which contend Aereo violates their copyrights. Unlike Aereo, cable and satellite carriers pay the broadcasters for the right to distribute their programming, even though it’s available for free over the air through an antenna.

Aereo’s capacity limit was reported earlier today by DSLReports.

To contact the reporter on this story: Alex Barinka in New York at abarinka2@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Nick Turner at nturner7@bloomberg.net


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