Time Warner Cable Juggling iPad App Concerns1 Apr, 2011 By: Erik Gruenwedel
Time Warner Cable’s launch of an app to stream live television on the Apple iPad continued its rollercoaster rollout with the No. 2 cable operator dropping channels from Viacom, Fox and Discovery, and adding 16 others, including ESPNNews and Golf Channel.
The app is intended to keep monthly subscribers from dropping lucrative pay-TV channels by allowing so-called TV Everywhere (24/7 access) to stream live and repurposed content via the Internet to portable media devices such as red-hot tablet computers.
Content owners, however, fear they are being denied incremental revenue from the new platforms, many of which do not yet track user data — paramount to attracting third-party advertisers. They’re also concerned about a dearth of safeguards preventing digital files from possible cyber piracy, among other issues.
Inundated by cease-and desist letters from select media companies, TWC March 31 (www.twcableuntangled.com) pulled the plug on several channels.
“We believe we have every right to carry the programming on our iPad app,” according to a TWC 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.”
Richard Greenfield, analyst with BTIG Research in New York and long-time critic of studios offering new release content to low-margin channels such as kiosks and Netflix on street date, said content owners should look at the bigger picture.
“At the end of the day, [their actions] are simply helping drive piracy and pushing consumers toward over-the-top providers such as Netflix,” Greenfield wrote in a post.