Aereo has been relying on word of mouth to promote its streaming TV service. But as the company looks to expand into nearly two-dozen new markets this year, it is kicking off its first marketing campaign.
The multimillion dollar campaign will roll out in New York City this week and include outdoors advertising on billboards, phone kiosks and public transit, which will feature the tagline: "Live TV. Online. No cable required."Aereo collaborated with JaegerSloan for the campaign.
As Aereo ramps up its marketing, the company hired Alex Moulle-Berteaux earlier in the month for the newly created role of chief commercial officer. Mr. Moulle-Berteaux oversees the company's marketing initiatives, customer care, distribution partnerships and product management.
Aereo, which is backed by Barry Diller, said in January that it is planning on expanding the service into 21 new markets in 2013. And on Monday the company took its first steps toward this expansion, announcing that the service is now available to more than 19 million people in the New York metro area, which includes New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Pennsylvania. Previously, Aereo was only available in New York's five boroughs.
Aereo launched in New York City in March 2012, allowing users to watch over-the-air TV on multiple devices and record programs to watch later. It does this by assigning each subscriber with their own dime-size antenna that transmits the signal. Aereo currently offers about 30 streaming channels with subscriptions range from $1 per day to $8 per month for 20 hours of DVR storage and $12 a month for 40 hours of storage.
Aereo has drawn the ire of broadcast networks, which have sued the company, claiming the company is infringing on copyright by retransmitting signals without permission. Aereo argues its system of using personal antennas, means it is not transmitting a signal publicly. A court denied the broadcasters an injunction against Aereo, allowing the service to continue to operate while the case proceeds.
The biggest challenge for Aereo, outside of court, is trying to change people's viewing habits, said Mr. Moulle-Berteaux, who previously served as the global head of marketing and PR for Rockstar Games, the creator of video games like "Grand Theft Auto" and "Red Dead Redemption." "TV habits have been unchanged for a while. Changing the thought process of how you watch TV will take some time."
In order to do this, Aereo will need to look beyond word-of-mouth marketing. It has been utilizing social platforms like Facebook and Twitter to reach out to potential subscribers, offering free access to consumers during major events like Hurricane Sandy.
Mr. Moulle-Berteaux, who also served on the management team of Media Arts Lab/Chiat Day, Apple's marketing agency, is currently in the process of building Aereo's marketing team and commercial strategy. "It's about understanding the experience and what makes it unique," he said.
Aereo defines its audience as cord cutters or cord-nevers -- those who cobble together varying services like Netflix and Hulu for an entertainment experience, Mr. Moulle-Berteaux said. "They are missing the live experience," and Aereo is looking to give it to them.