The news, which Aereo founder and CEO Chet Kanojia announced on the company blog on Friday, marks the end of an era for the embattled startup, which faced opposition from major broadcasters ever since Aereo launched in 2012. Like Uber and Airbnb, Aereo has been one of those companies that bucked regulation from the outset.
Inside the infrastructure that drove its online service, it assigned every Aereo user a mini broadcast TV antenna, and it used this to argue that its service was no different than sticking a pair of bunny ears on your television. That way, Aereo could avoid paying retransmission fees for broadcasters' content. But broadcasters never bought this argument, and when it came down to it, neither did the Supreme Court. In June, Aereo shut down operations indefinitely. Now, Kanojia says the company is filing for bankruptcy to avoid "the extensive cost and distraction of defending drawn out litigation in several courts."
"We have traveled a long and challenging road," he wrote. "We stayed true to our mission and we believe that we have played a significant part in pushing the conversation forward, helping force positive change in the industry for consumers."
Indeed, Aereo has been a force for change in this industry. Just last month, one of Aereo's biggest adversaries, CBS, announced the launch of CBS All Access, a subscription service that allows people to stream CBS content online for just $5.99 a month. A few days before that, HBO announced its own standalone streaming service, which won't require a cable subscription.