If Aereo’s legal battles with the broadcasters were left up to Sundance Film Festival attendees, the streaming service would win in a landslide. “We’ve been sued by 17 media companies,” said Aereo CEO Chet Kanojia today on a Sundance panel on the subject of on creativity and change. The words were barely out of Kanojia’s mouth before the packed room broke out in cheers and applause. “You just won the Oscar, my friend!” bellowed moderator and former MySpace president Jason Hirschhorn as the more than 150 people in the Filmmaker’s Lounge continued clapping. “I don’t mean that as a trophy but as a fact,” the clearly surprised Kanojia added.
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Just over a week after the Supreme Court decided to hear the industry’s claim that Aereo infringes on broadcasters’ copyrights, the CEO was joined on the panel by actor-director Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Twitter’s head of music Bob Moczydlowsky, and Atavist co-founder/editor Evan Ratliff. “We’ve always said HITRECORD is a production company not a platform,” Gordon-Levitt said of his collaborative hub website. “One thing about HITRECORD is that every time we do it, it’s different.” HITRECORD ON TV is set to debut tomorrow with back-to-back episodes on the Participant Media-owned cable channel Pivot. Six more episodes are to follow. For Kanojia, platforms were the key. “Given where the Internet is today, there is an opportunity to create new platforms for creators,” he said.
With all his talk of “open platforms” and “multimedia experience”, Kanojia seemed to be inching towards a new distribution model supported by Aereo without getting specific. Saying that “there is no logic” to current traditional media models “but laziness,” the CEO noted “there is no reason why just a single business model works.” He added that he believed “that consumers are more than willing to pay for different things.” What that may be he did not say.