Could Aereo mean a boon for lawfirm business?

If the US Supreme Court rules in favor of the streaming internet TV service Aereo, tv broadcasters are claiming that they would lose hundreds of millions of dollars in subscriber fees and that it would “threaten the very fundamentals of broadcast television.”

In a piece today by Katelyn Plentz at ALM, it is observed that  an outcome in favor of the startup could generate significant business for law firms.

“It would mean this business model is a legitimate one,” said Wayne Johnsen, a Wiley Rein partner who represents cable providers and broadcasters. “You would have to then have broadcasters assess what it means for them. Obviously, you’ll have all of those companies looking for legal advice given the court’s decision,” he said.

Moreover, the article notes that a major reorganization of broadcasting is to occur next summer, with the Federal Communications Commission planning to auction airwaves.
If the court decision serves to devalue the broadcaster’s pieces of spectrum, those companies may want to sell the airwaves at auction thereby opening  up billions of dollars in sales to wireless companies. To put this into perspective, in 2008 the FCC spectrum auction raised almost $20 billion from participants including AT&T Inc., Verizon Wireless and Google Inc.

The high court is likely to rule by June.


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