News Corp.’s Fox TV delivers cease and desist letter to Time Warner Cable over iPad app

“Cablevision Systems Corp. said Thursday it is waiting for Apple Inc.’s approval of the cable company’s ‘live TV’ iPad application, delaying its launch,” Nat Worden reports for The Wall Street Journal. “A similar app recently offered by Time Warner Cable Inc. has exposed a dispute over content rights between cable companies and their network partners.”

“A spokesman for Cablevision, which had planned to launch the app before the end of March, said the delay is unrelated to the dispute between programmers and Time Warner Cable over its app,” Worden reports. “Time Warner Cable’s app provides its cable TV and broadband customers access to 32 live cable TV channels [temporarily limited to 19 due to heavy demand], such as the Disney Channel, Discovery Channel and Comedy Central, on their Apple tablet device but only in the customer’s home. Cablevision’s planned app would expand on that, providing customers access to all programming that is available through their cable box on their iPad.”

Worden reports, “Such apps have raised hackles from programmers, who claim the cable companies haven’t acquired the rights to distribute their content on the iPad. Time Warner Cable confirmed they received a cease and desist letter from News Corp.’s Fox TV networks, as well as other programmers… Time Warner Cable has persevered with its app, despite the objections from programmers and some initial technical glitches. A spokesman for the company said it will continue offering all 32 channels on the app.”

Read more in the full article here.

We just checked and all 19 channels, including News Corp.’s FOX News, remain functional on the TWCable TV app for iPad. Content providers need to relax; especially since all the TWCable TV app does is deliver a tiny subset of the same content currently broadcasting on the cable system to another screen, iPad’s, within the reach of the cable subscriber’s home WiFi network.

It’s really a useful little app, albeit extremely limited right now.

Related articles:
Time Warner cuts back live TV iPad app due to overwhelming demand (updated) – March 16, 2011
Time Warner Cable first to launch iPad app that delivers live TV (Updated) – March 14, 2011


  1. I normally rail against Cable companies, but in this case, I stand with Time Warner Cable. It’s clear to me that Fox is sleazily attempting to monetize content once it’s already in the home for viewing. Greedy Greedy. Shame on you Fox. I hope TWC drags them through the mud.

    1. Not to mention the “other progrmmers?” oh, right you don’t want to attack a Obama-friendly corporation I suppose.

      I can’t imagine why these doofus companies think the TWC app violates their broadcasting agreements. More exposure for their advertisers. But ALL companies want to maxamize their revenues, Left or Right.


    1. honestly, nothing..
      I would normally agree with Fox, but in this case… i dont know.

      But.. i did pick up on this part

      “Such apps have raised hackles from programmers, who claim the cable companies haven’t acquired the rights to distribute their content on the iPad.”

      Which could be the culprit, Hulu has this problem also.. thats why even as a premium subscriber, you can only view certain shows on the ipad, or PS3, etc.

      which is NOTHING new.. just something that TWC may have tried to go around the rules by saying “on their Apple tablet device but only in the customer’s home.” which may or may not violate the licensing for the programs like Fox are saying.
      Remember, the Fox contract could state “customer’s TV” which would mean they are correct, and TWC are wrong.

      It will be a big legal battle, one that i am sure will not be the last of its kind now.

      Could also be that Fox intends to do an app like the ABC player.. and wouldn’t agree to change the contract to let others (like TWC) do the same. Which again, Fox would have the law on their side.

      Fox may be correct on this, will be months before the facts actually come out. and no doubt those that hate Fox will not care and bash them anyway.
      I am in the middle, but i can see Fox’s arguement here, could be the SAME problem Hulu has.

  2. I’m getting pretty tired of all this. I pay to view the programming in my home. I should be able to view it in any fashion that I please. Be it my iPad, my television, my Windows Media Center PC or any other device that I choose to purchase that will allow me to view the programming. It is ridiculous that these media companies want to pull more money from the providers which will in turn require them to pull more money from the end users. And for what? There is no additional work needed from the media companies. It is the same person viewing the programming as the end user. The way I see it? The rich simply want to get richer, no matter what.
    You can argue that this is business. But come on. At some point, you need to say enough is enough. I bought it, let me use it how I see fit.

    1. Fox’s complaint is definitely not consumer friendly. But this is standard for the business.
      We are witnessing paradigm shifts here.
      Distributors are looking at new ways to sell their product and are risking angering the content providers in the process.
      Content providers as usual want to make as much money as the can for the same content and are balking at the distributors streaming stuff for free.
      Apple are driving this shift since they are providing means to view content that exists outside of the TV box.

    2. Their arrogance is supplied by their exclusivity coverage areas. Really limits the competition — and consumer choices.

      This is also the reason cable/Internet providers want to choke the network pipes; consumers will elect to just buy the content piecemeal (or do the torrent) to escape cable tv charges, and the providers can make it up with bandwidth charges.

      But since Liberty is dead, Left or Right, whadda’ ya’ gonna’ do!

    3. Exactly! This whole complaint is bullsh*t! Now, if TWC were enabling me to take my cable subscription on the road, away from my house, the content providers would have a point, but that’s not the case. I can only watch on my home network.

      This is a cash grab, pure and simple.


  3. Apparently, one of the few truly unbounded things in this universe is greed. Everywhere one looks, greed for money, greed for power, greed for control. Mark Twain was right, “Man descended from the higher animals.”

    1. Bullpoopy. You think animals ain’t all about self-interest and survival. That’s why you have the ‘pride’ of stocks and then lower class. It’s Nature, not human nature,

      Jeez, a Confederacy of Dunces every thread…

      1. Apparently you’ve never heard of an animal sacrificing itself to protect its pack; even fire ants do it. That’s also Nature. After looking up ‘altruism’; I’d suggest you investigate grammar. Then pick up Toole’s book that you reference without seeming to understand. Reading it may do you some good.

        1. For all your supposed education, you sure be stoopid.

          Funny how people like you are so predictable, attack the messenger and present fables as facts. Ants are not animals— surprise! An animal will not protect it’s pack out of altruism since it is incapable of processing ideas — or ideals — which are abstract thoughts. An animal might protect it’s pride, but sacrifice is again a concept beyond all but the human animal.

          Where did you get your education — Berkeley!?!

          My degree in English, a science of language, serves me well when needed; I just choose not to flaunt it, specially when among a Confederacy of Dunces.

          1. For a narcissistic English major, you profess a unique understanding of the motivations and cognitive capacities of animals. I hold a healthy skepticism of your viewpoints regarding sacrifice and altruism on the part of non-human animals.

            Proud to be a member of the Confederacy of Dunces.

          2. Ants are a member of the largest phylum of ANIMALs-Arthropoda.


            Where did you get your education, Smitty?

            English is a language, not a science of language. That would be linguistics. You should sue your teachers.

    2. Who is the greedy one here?

      Fox, for wanting to control their distribution?
      Time-Warner for considering it their right to do so?
      Or the customer who always thinks they are owed something extra for nothing from ‘those greedy bastards’?

      And BTW, EyeTV does this even if you aren’t on your network!
      What will Fox do about that?

  4. You would think that content distributers would be elated with this. It potentially increases viewership. The more eyeballs watching the commercials, the more they can charge their advertizers. I don’t see the problem.

  5. Isn’t the goal of companies to have as many people as possible watching their shows and commercials? Won’t more people be watching if they can easily tote their show with them on a nice portable iPad, so they can watch it instead of sitting doing nothing, or when your forced to attend an event you’d rather not be watching? If you aren’t home you can’t watch your Cable TV—unless it’s on an iPad you dummies! Why is this such a difficult concept to grasp? More viewers in real time is the goal right?

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