By Rob Scott
April 10, 2011
We recently reported that Time Warner Cable had drawn significant controversy over its free live-streaming app that provides subscribers access to streaming television content via their iPad (only in their homes). AP reports that Time Warner Cable has bowed to the subsequent pressure from Fox Cable Networks, Viacom and Discovery — and will drop 12 cable channels from the app (20 channels will remain and Time Warner Cable suggests it has plans to add more). The three programmers had complained that the app violated their programming contracts.
“For the time being, we have decided to focus our iPad efforts on those enlightened programmers who understand the benefit and importance of allowing our subscribers — and their viewers — to watch their programming on any screen in their homes,” explained Time Warner Cable in a statement.
Since the AP story hit the wires, Time Warner Cable and Viacom announced they are countersuing each other in U.S. District Court. This case may be an important indicator regarding the growing debate over content and licensing rights amidst an era of mobile devices.
Related Los Angeles Times article: “Time Warner Cable and Viacom sue over iPad app” (4/8/11)
Related Forbes article: “Viacom Yanks Channels From iPad App, Raises Stakes In Streaming Standoff” (4/8/11)
Related Broadcasting & Cable article: “TWC Clicks iPad App Channel Count up to 73” (4/25/11)
By Rob Scott
March 30, 2011
Time Warner Cable recently released a new iPad app that provides subscribers access to live-streaming television content via their iPad (Cablevision is expected to release a similar app shortly). And not surprisingly, the TV networks have expressed concern. Channel owners including Viacom and Scripps see the streaming capability as a contract violation, and reports indicate that cease and desist orders are underway.
To stream programs from Time Warner, customers download the iPad app, log in to their account, and choose from a selection of channels. The current version of the app only works inside the home for customers who receive both TV and Internet from the operator. The problem with this approach is that the networks view iPad streaming as a separate service from cable television, one that may require a different fee.
While Verizon and Comcast are also working on streaming apps for iPads, clearly the business model has yet to be ironed out. And we still don’t know if consumers will be watching TV through an app from their cable company, an individual channel’s app, or through a service such as Netflix.
Related New York Times story: “Dispute Over Time Warner Cable’s Streaming to iPad Bursts into the Open” (3/28/11)
Related Engadget story: “TWCable TV app for iPad now available, but Dish has something to say about being ‘first with live streaming'” (3/15/11)
By Rob Scott
March 7, 2011
Internet TV pioneer Hulu is reportedly in discussions to transform its business model. Since its 2008 launch, Hulu has been one of the leaders in free online television delivery and web-video ad dollars.
The Wall Street Journal reports that Hulu’s three owners (NBC Universal, News Corp. and Disney) are concerned that free Web versions of their TV shows are cutting into their traditional business, and the three are at odds regarding how much of their content should be offered for free.
News Corp.’s Fox Broadcasting and Disney’s ABC are considering pulling some of their free content from Hulu (and selling more content to Hulu competitors), while Hulu management is discussing the idea of retooling Hulu as an online cable operator that would use the Web to provide live TV channels and video-on-demand content to customers. If they opt to move forward with such a plan, some form of Hulu’s free service would likely remain and it is possible Hulu Plus could be folded into the new service.
By Rob Scott
March 6, 2011
According to a press release from Turner Sports, CBS Sports and the NCAA, this year’s 68-team NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship tournament will feature newly enhanced March Madness on Demand (MMOD) live products. The services (produced by Turner Sports Interactive) will be available across multiple platforms, including online, and as an app for the iPhone, iPod Touch, and for the first time, the iPad. Features available over Wi-Fi and 3G include live viewing with larger format streams, a personalized channel lineup, live in-game stats, social companion views, and more.
Live streaming of every game broadcast by CBS Sports and Turner Sports will start with the First Four on March 15, and run through the Men’s Final Four semifinals and national championship game on April 2 and April 4.
Beginning March 10, free mobile apps will be available for the iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad from the iTunes Apps store.
For a complete list of features, check out the press release included in the Engadget post.