TiVo Receives Approval To Acquire Aereo Assets

DVR maker TiVo announced this morning that its purchase of assets from Aereo – the innovative but ultimately doomed internet TV streaming startup – has been approved by a U.S. Bankruptcy Court. TiVO acquired the assets, including Aereo’s customer lists, names and other trademarks, for $1 million.

Meanwhile, patent aggregator RPX Corp bought Aereo’s patent portfolio for $225,000 and Alliance Technology Solutions was expected to buy Aereo’s equipment for upward of $300,000, The WSJ previously reported.

Both Aereo and an attorney for unsecured creditors have called the outcome of the sales, which brought in less than $2 million, “disappointing.”

Aereo had raised around $97 million in outside funding prior to its shutdown.

“TiVo has always innovated to meet the constantly changing ways TV audiences choose to access content,” said Tom Rogers, President and CEO of TiVo in a statement released this morning.

“This strategic acquisition of Aereo’s trademarks and customer lists will enhance our ability to serve the growing segment of consumers who want access to both broadcast television and over the top content. TiVo has found success in providing a more comprehensive offering and sophisticated user experience than any other player in the marketplace and we look forward to expanding on that success.”

Aereo, as you may recall, lost its battle with major network broadcasters in a landmark Supreme Court decision last summer, which deemed the service illegal. The startup had previously rented antennas to subscribers who could stream their local stations through Aereo’s online service and use its hosted DVR space for as little as $8 per month. However, broadcasters argued that Aereo constituted a public performance, since many of the company’s subscribers were viewing its streams live at the same time. The service’s existence threatened their very livelihood – Aereo viewers could access over 30 TV stations, including the major networks. That made paying for pricier cable packages look much less attractive.

Following the Supreme Court ruling, the startup filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in November 2014, and the next month it was decided that Aereo’s assets would be pieced out and sold to the highest bidders.

The decision to approve the sale of assets to TiVo was made March 12 in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Manhattan as the finalization of the Feb. 24 sale of Aereo’s patents, hardware and other assets, notes TiVo in its brief statement this morning.

It’s obvious why TiVO would want to acquire Aereo’s customer list – it already markets some of its hardware DVRs to the same cord-cutting crowd that Aereo was after, including DVRs like the TiVo Premiere or the affordable TiVO Roamio, for example. These devices let cord cutters connect to their own antenna and then record shows over broadcasters’ digital signals.