Streaming TV Apps on Tablets Clash in USA has Content Owners and Big Cable Butting Heads

written by: Richard Kastelein

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Cable operators such as Cablevision and Time Warner Cable pay hefty carriage fees in the USA to buy the rights to beam channels to customers’ television sets. But do those rights extend to tablets in the house as well? It appears to be heading for a legal clash. Content owners such as Scripps Networks and Viacom are hauling out the lawyers and screaming contract violation - probably in part due to the ongoing carriage fee wars and they simply want big cable to shell out more dosh the privilege to stream around the house, via an App.

It's ridiculous... DLNA is already opening those gates. The Alliance has Certified more than 9,000 TVs, PCs, mobile phones, printers and other products for interopeability. It's a moot point - if not now - soon. For instance, one can use a Samsung Galaxy Tab to clone what they are watching on the tablet on the big screen TV or, using Allshare, wirelessly stream content from a TV back to a smaller Tab.

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Time Warner Cable has just removed a dozen cable networks from software it created to beam live TV channels to Apple iPads - a concession to several big media companies that have recently objected to the application.

The app has exposed tensions between the cable company and some of its network partners as they wrestle with how to adapt to the Internet era and the rights to distribute live TV to portable devices. The free app only worked within a cable customer's home when the iPad was connecting to the Internet through the company's broadband service.

Time Warner's move came the same day Cablevision Systems Corp. said it has delayed the launch of its own live TV app

"We believe we have every right to carry the programming on our iPad app," Time Warner Cable said Thursday. The company said it "would "pursue all of our legal rights against the programmers who don't share our vision."

The New York Times also reported on the brouhaha:

The cable distributors have trod lightly into an area that will most likely prompt more fighting with channel owners: out-of-home viewing by customers.

Not every channel owner is arguing against the streaming notion, however. Time Warner, which was separated from Time Warner Cable two years ago, is comfortable with the current app, and its recent contract renegotiation with Comcast specifically included tablet streaming rights.

Ms. Witmer of Time Warner Cable said she thought some of the resistance by channel owners stemmed from a lack of understanding of the technology. “In fairness, truthfully, to all the executives in this industry that are trying to run businesses that are part of this ecosystem, it is exhausting — exhausting — keeping up with everything that is changing rapidly,” she said.

About the Author

Richard Kastelein
Founder of The Hackfest, publisher of TV App Market and global expert on Media & TV innovation, Kastelein is an award winning publisher and futurist. He has guest lectured at MIT Media Lab, University of Cologne, sat on media convergence panel at 2nd EU Digital Assembly in Brussels, and worked with broadcasters such as the BBC, NPO, RTL (DE and NL), Eurosport, NBCU, C4, ITV, Seven Network and others on media convergence strategy - Social TV, OTT, DLNA and 2nd Screen etc.

He is a Fellow of the UK Royal Society of Arts (RSA) and UK Royal Television Society (RTS) member.

Kastelein has spoken (& speaking) on the future of media & TV in Amsterdam, Belfast, Berlin, Brussels, Brighton, Copenhagen, Cannes, Cologne, Curacao, Frankfurt, Hollywood, Hilversum, Geneva, Groningen (TEDx), Kuala Lumpur, London, Las Vegas, Leipzig, Madrid, Melbourne, NYC, Rio, Sheffield, San Francisco, San Jose, Sydney, Tallinn, Vienna, Zurich...

He's been on advisory boards of TEDx Istanbul, SMWF UK, Apps World, and judged & AIB awards, Social TV Awards Hollywood, TV Connect & IPTV Awards.

A versatilist & autodidact, his leadership ability, divergent and synthetic thinking skills evolved from sailing the world 24000 miles+ offshore in his 20′s on sailboats under 12m.

He spent 10 years in the Caribbean media & boating industry as a professional sailor before returning to Europe, to Holland.

A Creative Technologist and Canadian (Dutch/Irish/English/Metis) his career began in the Canadian Native Press and is now a columnist for The Association for International Broadcasting and writes for Wired, The Guardian & Virgin. His writings have been translated into Polish, German and French. 

One of Kastelein's TV formats was optioned by Sony Pictures Television in 2012. 

Currently involved in a number of startups including publishing TV App Market online, The Hackfest and Tripsearch TV. As CSO for Worldticketshop he helped build a $100m company.

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