News Column

Media stocks rise on Aereo ruling

June 25, 2014

By Gary Strauss, @garybstrauss, USA TODAY

CBS and other broadcasting and media stocks surged Wednesday after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Web TV start-up Aereo could no longer capture their signals and stream them over the Internet to subscribers.

The court ruling upholds claims by broadcasters and the Justice Deptartment that Aereo's streaming service violates broadcasters' copyrights. The court agreed, reversing a lower-court ruling siding with Aereo that would have cut broadcasters' retransmission fee revenue stream.

Reflecting the big win for broadcasters, CBS rose $3.64 (6.2%) to $62.48, Comcast, owner of NBCUniversal, rose 57 cents (1%) to $53.21, Walt Disney, which operates ABC, gained $1.22 (1.5%) to $83.90, and Fox parent 21st Century Fox surged 67 cents (2%) to $34.88.

Local TV station owners, including USA TODAY parent Gannett, also climbed following the Supreme Court ruling. Gannett gained $1.48 (5%) to $30.67, Sinclair jumped $4.56 (16%) to $33.80, and Media General climbed $1.86 (10%) to $20.33. Tribune rose $4.05 (5%) to $85.90, while Gray Television added 94 cents (8.4%) to $12.20.

Aereo, launched in 2012 by Chaitanya "Chet" Kanojia, has maintained it does not violate copyright laws covering TV content, as broadcast signals are transmitted for free. The company had launched an $8 to $12 monthly service that provided an antenna allowing users access to content from broadcast TV over computers and smartphones. Kanojia blasted the ruling, saying it's a "massive setback" for consumers and sends "a chilling message" to the technology industry.

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Source: USA Today

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