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Cable considers Aereo blueprint for escaping retransmission fees?

DirecTV, Time Warner Cable Inc. (TWC) and Charter Communications Inc. (CHTR) are considering capturing free broadcast-TV signals so as to avoid paying billions of dollars in retransmission fees, according to a Bloomberg news service report.

If Aereo, the controversial OTT service which charges $8 a month for online access to broadcast TV, wins its court battle with CBS Corp. (CBS) and other media companies, Bloomberg reports, cable companies could and would consider utilising the same approach to bypass the fees, expected to double to $6.1 billion in 2018 from $3.01 billion this year.

“It is intellectually and legally inconsistent to saddle the cable industry with billions of dollars each year of broadcast retransmission fees,” Bloomberg quotes Leo Hindery, managing partner of New York-based private equity fund InterMedia Partners, “while allowing a similarly for-profit company to pluck broadcast signals out of the air and sell them without paying any such fees. The cable companies are fully entitled to do everything in their power to stop this travesty.”

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