NEW YORK: TV-over-Internet startup Aereo, which began mass layoffs last week after losing a Supreme Court copyright battle with TV networks, is no longer working with its AOR LaunchSquad.
When Aereo was founded in early 2012, it hired LaunchSquad to provide media relations and strategy services for the technology company.
LaunchSquad senior account director Samantha Qualls told PRWeek, "[Aereo] has been a fantastic partner, and we wish them the best and hope to work with them again in the future."
She declined to give further comment on when or why the relationship ended.
Aereo licenses dime-sized, remote antennas that capture programming from local TV networks and stream the content to consumers through Internet-capable devices, such as phones, tablets, and computers.
The company argued in the legal battle that it is an antenna service, so it doesn’t have to comply with copyright laws, but the Supreme Court ruled in June that it is subject to the Copyright Act because it acts more like a cable service. Following the ruling, Aereo was forced to halt its services after a New York federal court entered an injunction against it in October.
With no revenue and no permission to provide services, staffers were informed last week that most of them – a total of 60 – would be let go. Aereo has at least 93 employees, according to its LinkedIn profile.
It was not immediately clear if the layoffs would affect the company’s internal PR team.
In addition, Aereo will be closing its business operations in Boston later this month, according to a legal filing obtained by news outlets in Boston.
Virginia Lam, SVP of communications and government relations for Aereo, said in a statement that the decision to let go staffers in Boston and New York was made in an effort to reduce costs.
"We are continuing to conserve resources while we chart our path forward," she said in the statement. "We are grateful to our employees for their loyalty, hard work, and dedication."
Lam added that this was a "difficult, but necessary step in order to preserve the company."
In a letter to employees last Thursday, Aereo stated that it has been "working hard to stay viable by pursuing a statutory license under the Copyright Act."
Aereo did not return PRWeek’s calls or emails seeking comment.