Cable Operators

Viacom, TWC Still Wrangling Over iPad App

11/07/2011 12:01 AM Eastern

The tablet wars aren’t over yet.

Time Warner Cable and Viacom continue to exchange
legal fire over the operator’s iPad app for live TV.
Last week, Viacom sought to dismiss a TWC claim in the
dispute that the programmer
breached a
2004 “content clause”
in the companies’ distribution
deal for CMT
because the network
strayed too far afield
from country-music
programming. In an
Oct. 3 filing, TWC said
CMT’s country-music programming “has been replaced
almost entirely by movies and television series.”

Viacom countered that the disputes are wholly unrelated.
“TWC cannot possibly contend that CMT’s
purported failure to abide by the 2004 Content Clause
is somehow linked to TWC’s decision to distribute Viacom
programming to iPads,” the media company
said in a legal filing.

Time Warner Cable responded in a statement: “We
feel that we are right on the merits and we look forward
to the court’s eventual decision.”

Separately last week, Time Warner Cable augmented
its iPad lineup, adding 37 Spanish-language
channels for subscribers of its Hispanic programming
tiers.

In the iPad case, Viacom — one of several programmers
that objected to the iPad app as unauthorized
— sued TWC in April alleging breach of contract and
copyright violation. Time Warner Cable sought a ruling
that the cable operator has the right to deliver Viacom’s
programming to any device in a subscriber’s home.

In a joint filing in June, Viacom and TWC entered
into a “standstill agreement” that put the litigation on
hold while they have tried to reach terms privately.

Cablevision Systems this spring launched a similar
iPad app — and was also hauled into court by Viacom,
before the two parties resolved their differences for undisclosed
terms. More recently, both DirecTV and Bright
House Networks launched streaming-TV apps in the
past two weeks; neither include Viacom’s networks.

November

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