Fox Demands TWC Pull Networks From iPad App

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News Corp.'s Fox Cable Networks sent a cease-and-desist notice to Time Warner Cable demanding that it stop offering channels, including FX and NatGeo, through its recently launched iPad app, but the programmer stopped short of filing a lawsuit.

Fox Cable Networks sent the notice on Wednesday, according to senior vice president of communications Scott Grogin. Fox's move was reported earlier by Bloomberg.

Asked for a response, Time Warner Cable spokesman Alex Dudley said, "The app continues to be available for free to our customers with the full 32-channel lineup."

Justified

In an interview Tuesday, Time Warner Cable chief programming officer Melinda Witmer acknowledged that the MSO has received "one or more" cease-and-desist letters regarding the new app but added, "We think everything we have received so far is baseless." She asserted that the company has licensed the right to deliver "programming signals to customers in their homes, and we have never designated what screen the customer has the rights to access it on."

The TWCable TV for iPad app provides 32 live channels -- including FX, Fox News and National Geographic -- delivered over the operator's network to a subscriber's home. The programming is accessible only to customers who take broadband and expanded basic (or higher), over a Wi-Fi home network.

Other programmers that believe the TWC app is unauthorized include Discovery Communications, Scripps Networks and Viacom. However, it's not clear which of those companies if any have sent the MSO cease-and-desist letters in the matter.

On Monday, Time Warner Cable launched IWantMyTWCableTVApp.com to make its case for why customers should be allowed to watch live TV on the tablet devices under existing programming distribution deals. TWC says that since the app's March 15 debut, more than 300,000 customers have downloaded it.

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