Time Warner Cable pulled 12 networks from Discovery Communications, Fox Cable Networks and Viacom off its iPad streaming-video application on Thursday -- after those companies complained that the service violated the terms of their distribution agreements -- although the MSO continues to insist it has the right to deliver that programming to the tablets.
The networks removed from the app are: Discovery's Animal Planet, Discovery and TLC; Fox's FX and National Geographic Channel; and Viacom's BET, CMT, Comedy Central, MTV, Nick, Spike and VH1.
For now, Fox News Channel is still available through the app. Originally TWC was offering 32 channels through the free app, TWCable TV for iPad, but is currently offering 20.
"We believe we have every right to carry the programming on our iPad app," Time Warner Cable spokesman Alex Dudley said in a statement. "But, 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.
"In the meantime, we will pursue all of our legal rights against the programmers who don't share our vision," Dudley continued. "The enthusiasm of our customers and the programming partners who have embraced the app, rather than those who are solely focused on finding additional ways to reach into wallets of their own viewers, has convinced us more than ever that we are on the right path. We will continue to fight to ensure that our customers have access to the content they pay for, no matter which screen in their home they choose to view it on."
Fox Cable Networks said it sent a cease-and-desist notice on Wednesday to Time Warner Cable about the app, which the cable operator debuted March 15.
Last week, Viacom sent a cease-and-desist letter to Time Warner Cable demanding the removal of its networks, including MTV, Nick and VH1, a source close to Viacom confirmed.
The TWC iPad app allows subscribers who take both broadband and expanded basic cable or higher to access live TV on the tablet devices, but only over a home Wi-Fi network.
Separately, Cablevision Systems has developed a similar iPad app that will provide access to a subscriber's full TV lineup and video-on-demand, also limited to a customer's home. That app is still pending Apple's approval process for the iTunes App Store and is unrelated to any programmer complaints about TWC's app, according to Cablevision.