Fox has sent Time Warner a letter demanding the cable giant stop streaming its content on the weeks-old TWCable TV app for the iPad, according to Engadget. This follows the sending of a cease-and-desist order to Time Warner by “unnamed” networks one week ago demanding similar action.
According to Engadget, Senior VP of Fox Networks Group Scott Grogin has confirmed the letter was sent, but did not reveal any details about its contents.
Assuming this is true, it indicates a further escalation in the fight between networks and those cable operators who want to stream content onto iOS devices.
Time Warner and other companies such as Comcast and Cablevision believe streaming content is no different than providing programming on a TV. Networks, on the other hand, see streaming as a different service than cable TV, and therefore want to control the rights, and “negotiate terms, and possibly a fee” for those rights, according to Business Insider.
For its part, Time Warner had already placed restrictions on how, and who can use, the app. These limitations should have pleased the networks, but apparently they did not.
First, the TWCable TV app is only for Time Warner customers (a restriction that should be obvious). Second, the iPad needs to be connected to the same network as the user’s cable box. Finally, there are only 30 stations available for streaming.
As we indicated just days ago, potentially, this could become a big issue for the entertainment industry as a whole, with consumers stuck in the middle. As the number of Wi-Fi-enabled devices grow, the demand for live television streaming to those devices will grow too. Hopefully, this will all be cleared up and the result will be more streaming (not less) and not lead to higher cable prices.
Time Warner has not commented on the purported Fox letter and its TWCable TV app remains in the App Store.
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