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Here Comes More Tablet TV: TWC Bites Into 'Ice Cream Sandwich'

4/18/2012 8:47 AM

Time Warner Cable on Thursday released a version of its live TV app for smartphones and tablets running Android 4.0, a.k.a. Ice Cream Sandwich.

Unfortunately, not many Android devices on the market currently support 4.0. The MSO says live TV is currently supported on the Motorola Xoom Wi-Fi and Samsung Galaxy Nexus tablets, adding that other Ice Cream Sandwich smartphones and tablets “should also work.”

According to Time Warner Cable, version 4.0 of the operating system — unlike Android 3.0 (Honeycomb) — was required to provide the necessary “security and stability necessary to distribute video over our private network” (see Time Warner Cable Promises Android Live TV App By Memorial Day). The TWC TV apps offer subs more than 100 channels on tablets or phones, but still no Viacom nets.

TWC TV for AndroidThe bigger picture on this: For pay TV operators, delivering video apps for their services isn’t just a nice-to-have — tablets, specifically, are changing the way people “watch TV.”

According to a study commissioned by Viacom, tablet owners say about 15% of their full-length TV episode viewing is on video-friendly tablets like the iPad (see Tablets Are Clear Go-To Alternative To TV: Study). Users of MSO-supplied video-streaming apps like TWC TV spend 20% more time on their tablets than those who don’t use or have access to such apps.

Horowitz Associates’ Adriana Waterston, speaking at the Cable Interacts event two weeks ago, said one of the families the firm interviewed about their video-viewing habits refers to their iPad as “the little TV,” as in, I’m going upstairs to watch that on the little TV.

Subscribers clearly are craving more content for their little TVs.

Parties like Time Warner Cable and Viacom need to hammer out a deal to give viewers what they want. Clearly, Viacom will use that tablet research to bolster its argument to TWC and others that its content provides tangible value — and should warrants some extra scratch.

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Programming Note: Don’t miss TV In a Multi-Platform World, Thursday, May 3 in New York City, presented by Multichannel News, B&C and TV Technology. Scheduled speakers include HBO’s Eric Kessler, ESPN’s Matt Murphy, Comcast’s Charlie Herrin, Turner Sports’ Matt Hong and many more. Click here for more info: www.multichannel.com/multiplatformevent.

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