Television Battle Heats Up at D11: Diller, Zucker & Sweeney Weigh in on Aereo

Source: Aereo

The future of television was in focus at the D11: All Things D conference, as Barry Diller took the stage to explain his vision for controversial video-streaming service Aereo, which is being sued by all the broadcasters.

"I dont want to go beat up broadcasters, I want to help move the centricity from fixed line or satellite closed systems to open internet systems," Diller said on stage. "I don't think of this as pulling the money tooth out of broadcasters," Diller said, but that rather that people who don't subscriber to cable will think of Aereo as an alternative."

(Read More: At D11: Facebook's Sandberg and Twitter's Costolo Talk Effective Advertising)

Diller attacked cable delivery systems as fundamentally broken: the user interface and the idea of "paying thousands of thousands of dollars a year for a package of cable channels you don't want very much." Diller wants to break up the bundle, and wrest control away from the cable carriers. But he acknowledged that Aereo isn't the only one, saying that Amazon, Apple, and Microsoft's XBox are all trying to change the way content is being delivered.

CNN chief Jeff Zucker countered, "The key thing is that broadcasters will want to be paid for their intellectual property. If they don't get paid they're not going to be able to keep making their content." Zucker stressed that CNN is platform-agnostic; his focus is making sure that the CNN's content is valuable on all platforms.

(Read More: Broadcast Turning to Cable Is a 'Weak Argument': Aereo CEO)

Later in the day Disney/ABC Networks chief Anne Sweeney took the stage and called Aereo "piracy" -- ABC is one of the networks suing the start-up. Sweeney said: "I think it is wrong, I think it is illegal."

The technology that Sweeney is excited about is Twitter, saying "It feels like social media is creating must-see TV again... bringing fans to watch the show live again." With rising concerns about cord-cutting, Sweeney laid out how her shows are engaging audiences on social platforms, pointing to offering key plot points on Twitter. "Twitter parties," Sweeney said, "you don't get that with shows that are on Netflix."

(Read More: Amazon Moving Ahead With Five Original TV Series)

As for the streaming video company Disney co-owns-- Hulu-- Sweeney said the company's not determined to sell. "Selling is an option, but staying is an option."

— By CNBC's Julia Boorstin. Follow her on Twitter: @JBoorstin