Time Warner Cable (NYSE: TWC) is giving in — for now — to some programmers who insist existing agreements with the cable operator don’t cover the right to stream their networks to the iPad, even when access is limited to the subscriber’s home. The decision to drop a dozen networks from Fox Cable, Viacom (NYSE: VIA) and Discovery comes after threats of legal action, according to a TWC blog post. We wrote earlier today about News Corp.’s demand that TWC stop streaming FX and National Geographic.
In addition to those networks, those being dropped include Animal Planet and Discovery Channel from Discovery, and BET, CMT, Comedy Central, MTV, Nickelodeon, Spike, and VH1 from Viacom. What’s left? Networks from NBCU/Comcast (NSDQ: CMCSA) (E!, Bravo, CNBC, USA, SyFy, MSNBC), Scripps, which has complained but apparently not threatened (HGTV, Food Network, Travel); Turner (CNN, HLN); Disney (NYSE: DIS) (ABC Family, Disney Channel); A&E (A&E, Lifetime Movie Network, History Channel); Cablevision/Rainbow (AMC); Hallmark Channel; Galavision, and Fox News. Yes, a News Corp (NSDQ: NWS). network is still running but the only two in the cease and demand letter were NatGeo and FX, which are part of the Fox Cable Group.
TWC’s formal statement:
We believe we have every right to carry the Fox Cable Networks, Viacom and Discovery programming on the iPad app. 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. 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.