Aereo has been making headlines lately, not only for expanding its streaming cloud DVR service to 22 new markets in the coming months, but for being in active litigation with some of the nation’s biggest and most powerful broadcast networks.
But founder Chet Kanojia isn’t going to let anything get the company down, which is why he’s bringing Alex Moulle-Berteaux to the Aereo team as Chief Commercial Officer. Alex was head of marketing and PR at Rockstar and a former marketing exec at Apple before that, so he certainly has the tech-centric marketing game down pat.
I spoke with both Alex and Chet about the challenges of marketing a service like Aereo, namely attracting users who are content with their cable service and TV to jump ship in favor of Aereo.
“We’re going up against a bunch of legacy behaviors here,” said Alex. “The key for us over time is to prepare the market for this new way of experiencing TV and play off of some of the frustrations associated with what’s currently out there.”
The marketing efforts will begin here in NYC next month, and using the data from that campaign, Aereo will then begin marketing in the 22 new markets that will be getting access to Aereo soon.
So far, Aereo has done almost no marketing. The service has simply grown based on word of mouth and media publicity.
The company plans on adding new social features to the platform, which is where Alex’s supreme community building skills from experience at Rockstar will become very important, Chet tells me.
But the challenges of marketing in NY are very different from those of other, less dense markets.
For example, many young people in the big city are perfectly comfortable downloading (both illegally and legally) video content and watching on their internet-connected devices, rather than paying over $100 for cable and owning a TV. However, outside of NY the cost of living makes the cable expenses a little less painful.
But Chet reminds me that the new markets were chosen based on specific criteria. “What we’re finding is that all the expansion cities have a similar demographic to that of New York, though that population might not be quite as big as it is in New York,” said Chet. “But whether it’s Chicago or Boston, the same demographic of young professionals, adults and students still exists in every city we’ve chosen.”
Aereo plans on investing “several million dollars” into its New York campaign to help raise awareness of the service.