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April 3, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Cable companies could find that they have a mighty ally, Barry Diller’s Aereo, in their battle with broadcasters over retransmission fees — at least in the short run, BTIG analyst Richard Greenfield observed in a note to clients on Tuesday. In the past, he observed, when a cable company went to war with a broadcaster over such fees, they risked losing subscribers to rivals — particularly home satellite providers such as DirecTV and DISH — if they continued to operate without the broadcaster’s signals. They could, of course, urge customers to install antennas to pick up the programs over the air or inform them how they could access network shows online, but such solutions, Greenfield noted, “were simply far too inconvenient for subscribers.” However, the situation changes with Aereo, he went on. If, say, CBS yanked its programming to Comcast, the cabler could simply turn to Aereo for a backup. “Not that hard to imagine an MVPD [cable provider] actually funding free Aereo access for their video subscribers during their retrans battle,” Greenfield wrote, adding, “As long as Aereo exists for consumers, it significantly changes the leverage imbalance that has dominated retrans negotiations.