The conflict between television networks and cable providers over whether or not existing contracts allow for iPad and VoD distribution is about to get a lot more interesting. Following network complaints about Time Warner Cable’s new iPad app, which gives TWC subscribers access to 32 channels on the device, TWC launched a new website yesterday, I Want My TWC Cable App, apparently designed to… well, stir trouble.
(Not that they need more, actually. HGTV and Food Network owner Scripps and Viacom are just two of the companies already upset over the app, with Scripps releasing a statement clarifying that it “has not granted iPad video streaming rights to any distributor and is actively addressing any misunderstandings on this issue.”)
With a front page that announces “Time Warner Cable’s new iPad App. More Freedom To Watch on More Screens. Why Do Some TV Networks Want To Take It Away?”, the site answers that question for the curious:
Many TV networks agree with us that an iPad is just another screen in our customers’ homes. But some seem to think they should be able to decide what screen you can use to watch the programming you’ve already paid for.
Technology is changing, and TV networks must change with it. Time Warner Cable will continue to push to protect our customers’ ability to watch the programming they’ve paid for in their homes on whatever screen they want!
Yeah! Television doesn’t want to be shackled by what its creators want! Television wants to be free! Well, as long as you’ve paid Time Warner Cable for it (Seriously, I can’t be the only person who finds it hilarious that TWC is trying to play the “They’re trying to control what you watch” card, can I?).
It remains to be seen how the networks will publicly respond to TWC’s populist argument – Personally, I’m hoping for a website with detailed instructions on how to steal TWC cable, accompanied by a statement saying “TWC is The Man and The Man can’t tell you that you have to pay them to watch the programs that we make for you!” – but, considering the last few conflicts between cable carriers and content providers for television distribution, don’t be surprised if the FCC gets involved sooner rather than later.
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