Media: Networks not happy with Time Warner Cable's iPad app

Thu, 03/17/2011 - 8:20am
Mike Robuck

Networks are lining up in opposition to Time Warner Cable's new iPad app that streams live TV into subscribers' homes.

It's been an up and down debut for Time Warner Cable's iPad app, which was rolled out on Tuesday. Due to the high volume of demand, the free TWCable TV app iPad Menucrashed Tuesday night, which led to 17 of the 32 networks being pulled for a few hours until the full lineup was returned around noon yesterday.

In addition to the high demand, Time Warner Cable blamed the authentication process for the problems.  Users of the app have to subscribe to Time Warner Cable's video and data services.  Time Warner Cable has been involved with TV Everywhere type services for several years now, but Time Warner Cable spokesman Justin Venech declined to provide any additional information on the authentication process or other technical details related to the iPad app.

Aside of the technical issues, there's also a looming showdown with some of the networks that are having their live programming sent to Time Warner Cable subscribers' iPads in their homes. Time Warner Cable contends that its current carriage agreements allow the distribution of the shows to iPads because they take place in subscribers' homes.

Some of the 32 networks think they should be paid extra for the streaming rights to their video content. The New York Post reported that Viacom and Discovery were two of the networks that are seeking to be paid more.

The current agreements with content owners and networks were forged before the iPad made its debut in April of last year. The opposition to streaming the shows into subscribers' homes could come in the form of lawsuits and cease-and-desist orders against Time Warner Cable.

While Time Warner Cable beat Comcast to the punch in terms of offering live content on iPads, it also was the first to feel the growing pains associated with deploying the app. 


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