Fox, Discovery Networks back on Time Warner's iPad app


Fox and Discovery are back on the TWCableTV iPad app after a 4/15 deal. This, after weeks of back and forth between Time Warner Cable and the two programmers. In total, six cable nets that had previously been taken off its iPad are back: FX, Fox News Channel, National Geographic Channel, Discovery Channel, TLC and Animal Planet. Viacom is the only programmer still withholding programming, including BET, CMT, Comedy Central, MTV, Nick, Spike and VH1.

The news was announced in blog posts by Time Warner Cable director of digital communications Jeff Simmermon. No reason was given for why the nets returned.

Time Warner Cable launched its iPad app some three weeks ago, giving subscribers access to live TV streams on the device, as long as they were watching those videos at home and while connected to their home networks. The trouble began when Scripps Networks Interactive and News Corporation (Fox), demanded that TWC stop delivery of their copyright content via the app.

Time Warner said the iPad was just another screen in the home and claimed its distribution agreements gave it the right to offer all of its channels to its customers. The programmers disagreed, demanding to have their networks taken off via cease-and-desist letters to Time Warner Cable.

So the company complied by pulling those stations and shortly thereafter added others. Since then, TWC went to federal court seeking a ruling that its cable contracts cover the iPad. TWC then filed a request for declaratory judgment relating to the Viacom cable networks. The request asks the US District Court in Manhattan to rule that Time Warner Cable’s rights under its carriage agreement allows it to deliver the programming of this company over its cable systems for viewing on devices of its video customers’ choosing, including iPads, in their homes. Meanwhile, Viacom said it filed its own lawsuit against TWC claiming illegal use of its content on the app.

RBR-TVBR observation: Seems it’s not so much about the rights deals for adding these streams, but more about who ultimately controls the content distribution over new devices. Content is Only KING when you Control the Content!