Time Warner Cable, Viacom Settle Multiscreen Spat


Time Warner Cable and Viacom announced
a deal last Wednesday (May 16) that will provide Nick,
MTV and other networks to the MSO’s TWC TV service
for watching live TV on tablets, smartphones and PCs in
the home, ending the companies’ yearlong legal fight.

TWC said over the next few weeks it will add Viacom channels
to the app lineup, including Nickelodeon, Comedy Central,
MTV and VH1. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

In addition to the channels that will become available
via TWC TV, Time Warner Cable will continue to carry
Country Music Television and also will carry additional
linear channels from Viacom, including MTV Hits, MTV
Jams and Centric.

Subscribers in many major markets, such as New York
City, will gain access to TV Land HD and BET HD, as well,
according to Viacom.

TWC originally launched an iPad app on March 15, 2011,
for streaming live TV inside customers’ homes over Wi-Fi.
Subsequently Viacom sent a cease-and-desist letter to the
cable operator, demanding that its programming be removed,
before suing the cable operator for breach of contract
and copyright violation.

In a joint statement last week, the companies said:
“Viacom and Time Warner Cable have agreed to resolve
their pending litigations. All of Viacom’s programming
will now be available to Time Warner Cable subscribers
for in-home viewing via Internet protocol-enabled devices
such as iPads, and Time Warner Cable will continue to
carry Viacom’s Country Music Television (CMT) programming.
In reaching the settlement agreement, Time Warner
Cable and Viacom were also able to resolve other unrelated
business matters to their mutual satisfaction.”

TWC and Viacom added, “Neither side is conceding its
original legal position or will have further comment.”

Time Warner Cable had been seeking a court judgment
that the TWC TV apps were covered under existing carriage
agreements with Viacom. Viacom insisted that an
iPad was not a TV, and that such a service required a separate
deal and additional consideration.

Last June, Viacom and TWC entered into a “standstill
agreement,” which put the litigation on hold while they
negotiated privately.

Cablevision Systems last year launched a similar iPad
app — and was also hauled into court by Viacom, before
the two parties resolved their differences for undisclosed

In February Time Warner Cable extended the in-home
live-TV streaming service to PCs and Macs, and has released
apps for Android devices as well.