While Time Warner’s feud with cable networks over its streaming iPad app received more coverage, Cablevision is also being criticized by one of the same entertainment giants. According to CNet, Viacom has accused the cable operator of providing live TV streaming of its networks that it “has not granted.” Will a cease and desist letter follow?
In the past few weeks, both Time Warner and Cablevision have provided its existing cable subscribers video streaming apps for the iPad. In turn, a number of cable networks, including Viacom, Fox, and Universal have demanded each pull its programming from each respective app, because they feel streaming violates copyright.
First out of the gate, Manhattan-based Time Warner released its TWCable app in early March, which offers a limited number of channels for streaming.
After receiving a cease and desist order from the above-mentioned networks, it pulled certain channels from the app. These included Animal Planet, FX, and Nickelodeon, among others.
Meanwhile, Time Warner asked a federal court to rule on who owns streaming rights: cable companies who have already paid licensing fees, or the cable networks themselves.
Bethpage, New York-based Cablevision, for its part, upped the ante when its Optimum for iPad app debuted on April 2. Rather than offering a limited sample of its channels for streaming, it delivers its customers with every channel available.
Although they have yet to receive a cease and desist letter, Cablevision has heard from Viacom through a letter. Naturally, they are not happy.
The letter states:
“Cablevision has seized distribution rights that Viacom has not granted. Viacom grants rights to distribute our content based on specific technologies and devices. We have extensive relationships with dozens of distribution companies who deal with us fairly and deliver outstanding consumer experiences on a variety of platforms. These relationships are based on fair licensing agreements that provide appropriate value for everyone involved. We will take the steps necessary to ensure that Cablevision respects our rights.”
For its part, Cablevision said:
“Cablevision’s agreements with programmers allow us to deliver cable television service to our customers, regardless of how many or what kinds of televisions they have in the home. Programmers are paid based on how many homes we securely connect to their content, not how many televisions display it, so they have never questioned whether a customer has a single TV or a dozen 50-inch flat panels in the home — it’s all cable television. Optimum App for iPad simply turns the iPad into another television in the home, and one it is worth noting our customers are finding particularly enjoyable and easy to use.”
Eventually, the issue of who owns live TV streaming rights should be resolved. After all, the iPad (and other tablets) are only going to get more popular as Wi-Fi grows. However, until then we will almost certainly hear more stories about this in the future.
Formerly Warner Cable Communications, Time Warner Cable operates in 28 states. Cablevision operates in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and parts of Pennsylvania.
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Viacom Goes After Cablevision Over iPad Streaming Rights