Ryan Kavanaugh on Aereo: It Gives Consumers 'What They Want'

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The battle for Ryan Kavanaugh's reputation is on. In the wake of an explosive article in the Oct. 8 issue of The New Yorker that portrays the Relativity Media CEO as having forfeited control of his studio to investor Ron Burkle, Relativity is vowing a major lawsuit against the magazine.

The Relativity Media CEO says "the same guys who were fighting Netflix are fighting this kind of change."

Relativity Media CEO Ryan Kavanaugh called Aereo -- a company under siege for its ability to deliver TV over the Internet without compensating networks -- "really cool," and DirecTV CEO Michael White said if Aereo survives legal challenges he'll find a way to get it to his subscribers.

The two executives were speaking during a session, along with TiVo CEO Tom Rogers and Selby Ventures managing director Doug Barry, at the Milken Institute Global Conference on Wednesday.

STORY: Barry Diller Defends Aereo, Says Legal Battle is Over 

Aereo, said Kavanaugh, "is a really cool concept. It gives everybody what they want." He was referring, though, to consumers, not the broadcasters who are suing Aereo, which is partially owned by Barry Diller.

"Rest assured, if it's legal, and we'll see," said White," if he's gonna get around the copyright laws and get it for free, I'm gonna make sure my customers can get it, one way or the other."

Several times, the panelists compared Aereo to the TV Everywhere concept, and even to Netflix.

"The same guys who were fighting Netflix are fighting this kind of change," Kavanaugh said. "If they don't start adopting a TV-Everywhere strategy, then someone like Aereo will find a way over."

Rogers, meanwhile, made the case a few times that the future of TV is similar to that of music, though slower and without the economic upheaval. Eventually, though, consumers will want "access to everything ever produced, on any device," just as consumers of music demand, he said.