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Aereo bags $38mn funding, eyes 22 new US cities

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Barry Diller's Aereo is moving fast to capture new subs

Contentious New York-based TV venture Aereo looks set to annoy broadcasters in 22 new US cities after securing a new round of financing worth US$ 38mn.

Aereo, which streams free-to-air television signals to any IP-connected device over the Internet for a monthly fee, has closed a Series B round of funding which was led by existing investors IAC and Highland Capital Partners. Previous investors also participated in this second round of financing.

The company has identified the following cities for expansion: Boston, Miami, Austin, Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Washington, DC, Baltimore, Detroit, Denver, Minneapolis, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Tampa, Cleveland, Kansas City, Raleigh-Durham (NC), Salt Lake City, Birmingham (AL), Providence (RI), and Madison (WI).

Aereo’s founder, billionaire investor Barry Diller, confirmed last summer that he planned nationwide expansion for the service after winning a favourable initial ruling in his ongoing legal battle with the country’s major broadcasters, unhappy with his business model of charging a subscription fee for retransmitting their free-to-air content over the Internet.

“Aereo’s technology is simply one of the easiest, most convenient ways for consumers to access broadcast television,” said CEO and Founder Chet Kanojia. “We’ve been working hard to bring Aereo to consumers across the country and we’re excited to expand our reach to these 22 new cities.

The service has already shaken up the US television market, and the relationship between broadcasters and cable TV providers, to such an extent that US credit rating company Fitch Ratings has publicly stated its belief that a favourable court ruling for New York-based TV venture Aereo could provide cable operators with considerable negotiating leverage over broadcasters.

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