D11 Dispatch: Barry Diller Says Aereo Plans To Create Content, Seeks Newsweek Sale

"The idea of spending thousands of dollars for a package of cable channels you don't watch doesn't make sense," he said during AllThingsD digital conference

Last Updated: July 24, 2014 @ 12:35 PM

Barry Diller, the chairman of IAC and backer of the online-TV service Aereo, said the service would expand to 22 cities in the next six to eight months, and that the ultimate goal was to create original content to push through the service.

He also confirmed that he'd like to sell Newsweek and focus on The Daily Beast.

Aereo is “spreading to 22 cities in the next six to eight months, it’s just beginning,” Diller said. The service already announced plans to expand beyond New York to Atlanta.

Also read: Disney's Anne Sweeney Calls Barry Diller’s Aereo ‘Opportunistic Piracy’

Diller acknowledged that the current subscriber numbers were very small but said the goal was to reach 20  million homes with the service.

"Then we can then make own programming and drive it through that system,” he said. Like Netflix? he was asked. “Sure,” he responded.

An hour or so later ABC chief Anne Sweeney slammed Diller over Aereo, calling the service "opportunistic piracy."

Diller said the cutting of cable cords by subscribers was underway, and an inevitability. “The idea of spending thousands of dollars for a package of cable channels you don’t watch doesn’t make sense,” he said.

He said that 90 percent of cable subscribers pay for ESPN, for example, but only 10 percent of them watch the sports channel.

By using micro-antennas stored remotely, Aereo can pull in broadcast channel signals and stream them to its users relatively cheaply. Users of the service can record shows in Aereo’s cloud DVR service.

Regarding Newsweek, Diller said: "I got seduced into Newsweek… It much better belongs in a widely diversified publishing company that’s got lots of publishing assets. Certainly there is value there."

Diller bought Newsweek for a dollar, but shut it down at the end of last year. He confirmed:

"We’d like to sell Newsweek."

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