30 Jun Aereo Loses Supreme Court Battle, Aligns with Customers
Last week, a company called Aereo, which provides local TV stations via Internet accessible antennas, had its operations put on hold by the Supreme Court. According to The Wall Street Journal, “As of Saturday morning Aereo users no longer were able to stream local TV station’s signals through the company’s cloud-based antenna and DVR services…The service, which appealed to people seeking Internet-based alternatives to cable TV, allowed subscribers paying as little as $8 a month to watch and record over-the-air broadcasts from an array of electronic devices.”
Following the June 25 ruling, Aereo posted a message to their customers on its website, stating, “The spectrum that the broadcasters use to transmit over the air programming belongs to the American public and we believe you should have a right to access that live programming whether your antenna sits on the roof of your home, on top of your television or in the cloud.”
In short, in its response, Aereo chose to play the “freedom” card. The company is clearly attempting to position itself as fighting for the people. In doing so, it’s obviously hoping to continue that fight another day – with consumers in its corner.
This is an example of a company attempting to put its best face on after – there’s no other way to put it – a big defeat. The language the organization uses in its statement – “the American public,” “we believe you should have a right,” etc. – is meant to clearly position them as on the side of their customers.
It’s probably the only response they really could issue in light of the ruling, but it’s still very much the correct response. Some people are saying their response was lacking, however, in PR I feel like sometimes less is more. Often times, companies in their position could even further damage its reputation by how they react to such a devastating ruling. But, in this case, I think Aereo did it right. It was simple and to the point. Here’s what happened, here’s what we’re doing about it and here’s how we’ll compensate you for services you’ve already paid for.
Further, when faced with an adverse outcome, or a crisis, there’s one thing that all companies must do: find a way to align themselves with their customers. Customers can be your biggest fans and champions. Today, through social media and other means, many customers have very deep bonds with companies. They can, in a sense, feel the pain of a Supreme Court ruling – maybe not as much as a company’s top executives, but in a different way that says “this is a company and a solution I believe in, and I’ll happily stand by it.”
If online chatter is to be believed, Aereo’s customers are highly supportive of what the organization is trying (or tried) to do. This is especially true as cable companies see competition from services provided by companies like Aereo and other video streaming giants such as Netflix and Hulu. Take a look at the following Tweet published 6/28: “Keep your voices loud and sign up for updates at http://ProtectMyAntenna.org – our journey is far from done. – Chet Kanojia”
In all honestly, in this situation, Aereo is probably doing what they’ve been advised to do from its lawyers and keeping communication minimal until more is certain about the future of the company. I’m sure they’ve got a team of folks preparing for when then do decide how they’ll move forward to keep the public updated!