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Aereo Claims It Needs Fewer Than 1 Million Users To Turn a Profit

But without knowing how many subscribers it has now, there’s no way of knowing how close it is to that goal.

Aereo Claims It Needs Fewer Than 1 Million Users To Turn a Profit

Without disclosing any subscriber numbers, Aereo CEO Chet Kanojia says his company, which lets subscribers record over-the-air television, can turn a profit with fewer than 1 million users.

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However, hitting seven figures would give Aereo “a fabulous business,” CNET reported him telling local entrepreneurs at a startup event Wednesday night. Despite this proclamation, the company has ambitious plans for user acquisition. At last month’s Brainstorm Tech conference hosted by Fortune, Kanojia said he hopes one in four TV viewers will use Aereo in five to seven years. Barry Diller, chairman of IAC and Aereo investor, told Bloomberg TV in April that the company would be “very profitable” if 10 million households sign on.

Without any actual user figures, it’s hard to understand if these targets are attainable. That 25% penetration goal Kanojia spoke of would make Aereo larger than Netflix, the king of streaming services, based on today’s population. One in four Americans breaks down to 78 million users (a quarter of households, meanwhile, comes to 28 million). In contrast, Netflix, the most popular streaming service, has built up a user base of 38 million subscribers over the course of its 16-year history.

Given the litigation hurdles ahead, Aereo might be overreaching in its outlook. The company plans to expand to 23 cities this year.

[Image: Flickr user Sarah Reid]

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About the author

Based in San Francisco, Alice Truong is Fast Company's West Coast correspondent. She previously reported in Chicago, Washington D.C., New York and most recently Hong Kong, where she (left her heart and) worked as a reporter for the Wall Street Journal

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