Customers of Time Warner Cable have some reason to rejoice today, as the cable company has gotten the go-ahead to add channels like MTV, VH1, and Comedy Central to its live streaming iPad app. The addition comes after the channels’ owner Viacom has settled its differences and resolved litigation with Time Warner Cable.
The legal fight erupted last year, after Time Warner Cable released its iPad app, which lets subscribers stream live shows to tablets inside their homes. While many networks grumbled about the app, Viacom was most vocal in rejecting the app, taking its distribution partner to court over whether or not it had the right to stream to other devices.
Time Warner Cable’s argument was that the iPad was just another TV in the home, while Viacom argued that the tablet was a new device and required additional rights for distribution. Not to mention, the networks were probably annoyed because Nielsen wasn’t able to measure consumption of video delivered to the iPad — which meant there were eyeballs not being counted, and subsequently not being sold to advertisers.
But that’s all over now. Hooray! Although, even with the legal case settled, both are sticking to their original legal positions.
One aspect of the settlement that sticks out is Time Warner Cable’s agreement to carry Viacom’s Country Music Channel (CMT). As is usual with these types of deals, the content provider (in this case, Viacom) tries to get the distributor (Time Warner Cable) to pay for a whole bunch of channels, and often lumps in those that aren’t that highly rated and, in the cable company’s view, doesn’t provide a whole lot of value. CMT was one of those channels, and its carriage was apparently a sticking point in the negotiations.
Official comment below:
Viacom and Time Warner Cable have agreed to resolve their pending litigations. All of Viacom’s programming will now be available to Time Warner Cable subscribers for in-home viewing via internet protocol-enabled devices such as iPads and Time Warner Cable will continue to carry Viacom’s Country Music Television (CMT) programming. In reaching the settlement agreement, Time Warner Cable and Viacom were also able to resolve other unrelated business matters to their mutual satisfaction. Neither side is conceding its original legal position or will have further comment.