Fitch: Aereo Decision Could Help Cable

Fitch Ratings believes if online TV providers are not required by law to pay retransmission consent fees to the stations they are streaming, cable operators will likely gain material negotiating leverage with broadcasters.

Last week, a Federal judge in New York rejected a request for a preliminary injunction filed by major U.S. broadcasters against startup online TV provider Aereo. The broadcasters claim that Aereo's service violates copyright law by reformatting and retransmitting broadcaster TV signals without consent or compensation. The injunction aimed to stop Aereo from rebroadcasting or streaming the broadcaster's over-the-air TV signals on the Internet.

If the case is ultimately ruled in Aereo's favor, Fitch believes other pay TV providers could leverage the threat of offering a similar service to significantly lower their retransmission payments.
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