For the last few years I've started to really enjoy the Golden Globes. It's like the Oscars, but more fun, typically withy better hosts and a lot more booze! Plus, sometimes the winners are actually surprising.
Without much else going on last night, I suspect that most of you caught them too. That is, unless you were using Aereo in New York City. Then you were basically out of luck.
Aereo kind of blew it on Sunday night, with the broadcast-television streaming service suffering an outage for roughly an hour, in its biggest market, on the night of the Golden Globes.
Ouch. Not good timing.
The company acknowledged, and apologized for, the problem in a tweet:
We're sorry #NYC for the inconvenience tonight. We experienced a partial outage impacting a small group of users. Team on it! We are back up— Aereo (@Aereo) January 13, 2014
Aereo also issued the following statement to The Wrap:
“Aereo experienced a partial outage in New York City tonight, which impacted a small group of users who were unable to access their accounts. Our engineers have worked to resolve the issue. We are truly sorry for the inconvenience and encourage any Aereo members impacted by the outage to reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org."
A problem like this might raise some questions about Aereo's ability to handle large amounts of traffic during big events. If it can't handle the Golden Globes, what about a much larger audience, like the Oscars? Or, even more importantly, the Super Bowl?
Another incident like this, and it could become a problem for the company.
This news comes after a very big week for Aereo, in which the company raised a $34 million Series C round of financing from IAC, along with Gordon Crawford, Himalaya Capital Management, Highland Capital Partners, FirstMark Capital and others. This brought its total funding to $97 million.
Then, on Friday, it was announced that the Supreme Court will be taking up the case that the broadcast networks had been waging against Aereo.
The big issue that the broadcasters have with Aereo is over retransmission fees, which requite cable operators, other distributors, to obtain permission from broadcasters before carrying their programming. Operators will often be asked to pay to carry the station.
Broadcast networks, like Fox and CBS, have said they might just quit the free TV business altogether if Aereo is allowed to survive. Sports leagues, including NFL and MLB, have also threatened to jump t.cable
The service was originally launched in New York City in March 2012 and has since expanded to Boston, Atlanta, Miami, Salt Lake City, Houston, Dallas, Denver, Detroit and Baltimore, despite lawsuits in nearly every new city it has entered.
This is basically a do or die moment for the company, so it could not have picked a worse time to suffer an embarrassing outage, though it only seems to have had a problem in one market.
(Image source: http://www.flashissue.com)