The names of the new investors are at least as important as the dollar amount, which Aereo says it will use to finance its expansion. Gordon Crawford has a gold-plated reputation among media investors: In his 41 years at Capital Research and Management, prior to his retirement in 2012, he helped to propel the growth of the pay TV industry with investments in companies including Time Warner, Liberty Media, News Corp, Comcast and DirecTV. He also played a major role in the development of Disney and Lionsgate — and, to his regret, the combination of AOL and Time Warner, which he helped to unwind when the merger soured. In the Series C funding, Crawford will be joined by China’s Himalaya Capital Management founded by Li Lu, a leader in the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests. (Michael Apted made a documentary of Lu’s memoir Moving The Mountain: My Life In China.) “Aereo experienced tremendous growth in 2013, and we expect 2014 to be another blockbuster year,” says Aereo CEO Chet Kanojia, who will discuss his company’s progress tomorrow at the International CES confab. The new investors join existing backers led by Barry Diller’s IAC, Highland Capital Partners, and FirstMark Capital. The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to decide this month whether to rule on a claim by major broadcasters that Aereo infringes on their copyrights by streaming their over-the-air signals without compensation. The company says that it simply leases the kinds of antennas and technology that consumers can already use to watch broadcast TV for free.
Related: Gordy Crawford Joins Lionsgate Board