January 8, 2014 / 2:04 AM / 5 years ago

Barry Diller-backed Aereo raises additional $34 million

Media tycoon Barry Diller attends the performance of the one-man-show "One Night Only" benefiting the Motion Picture and Television Fund in Los Angeles October 12, 2013. REUTERS/Phil McCarten

(Reuters) - Aereo Inc, the Barry Diller-backed online television venture that is facing a legal battle from four major broadcasters said it had raised $34 million from its new round of financing.

New investors included Gordon Crawford and Himalaya Capital Management, who joined Aereo’s existing investors, Diller’s IAC/InterActiveCorp, Highland Capital Partners, FirstMark Capital, among others.

Walt Disney Co’s ABC network, CBS Broadcasting Inc, Comcast Corp’s NBCUniversal, and Fox Television Stations Inc claim Aereo’s streaming service violates copyrights.

Aereo charges a low monthly fee to watch live or recorded broadcast TV channels on computers or mobile devices and does not pay the broadcasters, while pay-TV operators, such as Cablevision Systems Corp and Comcast, have to pay billions in retransmission consent fees.

In October, broadcasting networks, including Disney and Comcast’s NBCUniversal, who want to shut down the Internet TV startup, filed a lawsuit arguing that Aereo steals copyrighted television content.

In April 2013, the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals denied the broadcasters’ request to shut Aereo while litigation moved forward. The broadcasters then appealed against the verdict in the U.S. Supreme Court in October 2013.

Aereo said it will use the current financing to expand its services nationwide. The company intends to grow to five additional markets by the end of first quarter.

Reporting By Kanika Sikka in Bangalore; Editing by Supriya Kurane

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