Barry Diller on Aereo: 'I'm Kind of Glad They Sued Us'

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Barry Diller

The spate of lawsuits generated valuable publicity, the investor told CNN's Jeff Zucker on stage at the AllThingsD conference.

Barry Diller says he’s glad the major TV networks have sued Aereo, the nascent service that lets users watch broadcast television over the Internet.

Diller was sparring with CNN chief Jeff Zucker at the D: All Things Digital conference in Rancho Palos Verdes. “Any incumbent wants to guard their wall as aggressively as they can. I’m kind of glad they sued us in such a noisy way because it’s helping get Aereo known to people," Diller said. "So, all this drama that is stirred up is actually, I think, good for us.”

Diller said Aereo, available in New York and Boston, has “very few” customers, in part because it has only just begun to market the product. In the next 6-8 months, Aereo will be available in 22 cities, Diller said.

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“Broadcasters are going to continue to want to be paid for their intellectual property,” said Zucker, the former CEO of NBCUniversal.  “If they don’t get paid for it, then they’re not going to be able to continue to produce their content.”

“I don’t wanna go beat up broadcasters,” said Diller. “I want to help move the centricity from fixed-line, or satellite closed systems, to open-Internet systems …  That’s what my interest is. I think that the more you can get video, all forms of video, over Internet protocol, the better off the world will be.”

Diller predicted that the cable industry could “bust up” in 20 years. “I can’t imagine we’ll have cable running around,” he said.

"I think that young people who don’t now subscribe to cable are going to maybe think of Aereo as an alternative because they don’t like cable. They see no reason to pay $100 a month for things they mostly don’t watch,” Diller said.