Thursday, June 23, 2011

Viacom Sues Cablevision, While Time Warner Cable Suit On Hold

Just as word came out this morning that Viacom and Time Warner Cable had stopped their lawsuits to get close to a settlement deal, a new suit from Viacom against Cablevision has arose. "Viacom said Cablevision's April 2 launch of a computer application to allow streaming of television programs through a cable modem to iPad tablets violates its agreement to distribute Viacom programing only on cable TV systems."

Cablevision's response was "Cablevision's very popular Optimum App for iPad, which has been available to our customers for nearly three months, falls within our existing cable television licensing agreements with programmers – including Viacom. It is cable television service on the iPad, which functions as a television, and is delivered securely to our customers in the home on Cablevision's own proprietary network.” This came from Jim Maiella.

To me the key point is that the location of wireless viewing is within the home and thus covered by a cable agreement. It is true yet short sighted. What the cable subscriber really wants is viewership OUTSIDE the home. And that is why this app, as nice as it might be, is not enough. For Cablevision, Time Warner Cable, and other cable providers, deals must be negotiated with programmers like Viacom to authorize access anywhere for an authenticated viewer. Of course, consumers could just purchase a SLingbox.