YES Says Cablevision's iPad App Is Unauthorized

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YES Network, the regional sports network home of the New York Yankees and New Jersey Nets, said Monday it has informed Cablevision Systems that the cable operator's iPad app that provides in-home access to live TV is not allowed under their existing distribution agreement.

In a statement, YES said, "Cablevision does not have the right to offer the YES Network in the manner it is doing so on the iPad, and it has been notified as such."

Cablevision declined to comment.

Executives for Cablevision -- as well as Time Warner Cable, which offers its own iPad app with access to live TV -- have asserted that their streaming-video iPad applications are covered under existing TV carriage deals because the apps limit viewing of live TV and VOD to a subscriber's home, over a home Wi-Fi network.

"Cablevision has the right to distribute programming over its cable system to iPads configured in this way under its existing distribution agreements with programming providers," the Bethpage, N.Y.-based MSO said in announcing the iPad app on Saturday. "Cablevision has been serving customers with switched digital cable for more than five years. Advanced Digital Cable allows the company to switch in multiple digital formats, as its customers continue to buy the latest display devices."

Cablevision's Optimum for iPad app offers a lineup of about 300 live TV channels and 2,000 video-on-demand selections. The free app may be used only within a subscriber's home, but a customer does not necessarily need to subscribe to Cablevision's broadband service to access the service.

Time Warner Cable's TWCable TV for iPad app, released March 15, generated cease-and-desist letters from programmers including Discovery Communications, Fox Cable Networks and Viacom. TWC complied with requests to remove a dozen channels from the app, even as it escalated its public-relations campaign with print ads in major newspapers Monday vowing to fight the media companies that have objected to the service.

In June 2009, YES and Cablevision -- in conjunction with MLB Advanced Media -- announced a deal to provide live Yankees games online to the cable operator's subscribers in the New York area who take both expanded basic video (or higher) and Optimum Online. The "Yankees on YES" live game streaming over broadband package is available for a onetime fee of $59.99 for the 2011 season or $14.99 for any 30-day period.

YES carries 127 regular-season Yankees games per season and 82 regular-season Nets games per season.

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