During a National Association of Broadcasters event in Las Vegas today, News Corp Chief Operating Officer Chase Carey reportedly said that the FOX broadcasting network could be taken off the air and turned into a subscription service.
“If we can’t have our rights properly protected through those legal and political avenues, we will pursue business solutions. One such business solution would be to take the network and turn it into a subscription service”
The threat comes a week after a federal judge ruled Aereo, the service that allows subscribers to watch broadcast TV anywhere by essentially renting them a tiny antenna, did not violate copyright laws. Interestingly, right around the time of the court ruling rumors surfaced that Dish Network and DirecTV were talking to Aereo, perhaps to bundle the service and in the process avoid paying broadcasters retransmission fees.
And retrans fees is what this is all about. FOX broadcasting currently demands anywhere from $0.25 to $0.75 per month, per cable or satellite subscriber from its affiliate stations, like WSVN. And CBS head Les Moonves is on the record as saying he wants to see $1 per month from CBS affiliate stations for every paid TV subscriber.