May 14 (Bloomberg) -- Aereo Inc., the Barry Diller-backed online-television startup that’s drawn the ire of broadcasters, will begin offering its service in Atlanta next month, adding a third city to its coverage area.
Aereo will be available in Atlanta after June 24, following a weeklong preview for preregistered users, the New York-based company said today in a statement. The expansion will let the service reach an additional 5.3 million consumers in 55 counties in Georgia, Alabama and North Carolina.
The move follows Aereo’s arrival in Boston this month and ratchets up a conflict with the major TV broadcasters. The networks are waging a legal fight to shut down the service, which accesses broadcast TV signals and resells them online for $8 to $12 a month -- without paying a retransmission fee. Until this month, the service was only available in New York City.
“Consumers have the ability to pick up broadcast TV with an antenna -- all Aereo has done is made it smaller and made it remote,” Chief Executive Officer Chet Kanojia said in a televised interview with Emily Chang on “Bloomberg West.” “There should be no controversy in this.”
Aereo is talking with “independent-minded” people to add more video content to its service, Kanojia said. Some agreements may be signed “in the next few months,” he said. Aereo has already signed a deal to carry Bloomberg TV, which is owned by Bloomberg LP.
News Corp.’s Chief Operating Officer Chase Carey said last month he would shut down Fox broadcast and transform it to a cable channel if U.S. courts don’t prevent Aereo from broadcasting its content without paying retransmission fees. CBS Corp. CEO Les Moonves later made the same threat with his network.
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