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Friday April 1, 2011 1:34 pm

Time Warner removes Fox, Viacom, and Discovery channels from iPad App

time warner iPad app

Amidst a controversy over streaming rights, Time Warner Cable has agreed to remove content from Fox Cable Networks, Viacom, and Discovery from its iPad app.

All three networks were "willing to threaten to sue over it," Jeff Simmermon, director of digital communications at Time Warner Cable, wrote in a blog post, so Time Warner has pulled the networks from its iPad streaming for the time being.

Specifically, Time Warner will remove streaming access to 11 channels: Animal Planet, BET, CMT, Comedy Central, Discovery Channel, FX, MTV, National Geographic, Nickelodeon, Spike, and VH1.

Time Warner still maintains that it has "every right" to stream content from these channels via its iPad app, but said it will focus its iPad efforts "on those enlightened programmers who understand the benefit and importance of allowing our subscribers - and their viewers - to watch their programming on any screen in their homes."

Time Warner, however, is also not above legal action, and said it "will pursue all of our legal rights against the programmers who don't share our vision."

Viacom and Fox declined to comment. Discovery did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Time Warner unveiled its iPad app on March 15. It lets Time Warner customers stream live TV to their Apple tablet over a Time Warner Internet connection, so they can watch cable content in multiple rooms. Content providers like Fox, as well as Discovery and Viacom, however, soon objected to the app because they said it constituted another distribution channel and Time Warner, therefore, should hand over more cash for the rights to stream those TV shows.

Scripps Networks, which carries channels like HGTV and Food Network, has also expressed concern. "Scripps Networks Interactive has not granted iPad video streaming rights to any distributor and is actively addressing any misunderstandings on this issue," the company said in a recent statement.

"While we've received our share of customer complaints about the app on Twitter and in the App store, none of them have said 'We really wish this thing had fewer channels on it. It's just not fair to the programmers,'" Time Warner's Simmermon wrote.

Time Warner has set up a Web site to make its case, at iwantmytwcabletvapp.com - much like the Web sites, Twitter streams, and Facebook pages that popped up amidst the cable vs. content licensing battles that have resulted in channels being pulled from the air in recent years.

Earlier this month, Discovery actually introduced its own iPad app, which features clips from Discovery shows like "Deadliest Catch," "Man vs. Wild," and "Mythbusters," as well as social check-in features. It does not include full episodes, and Discovery described it as "a perfect complement for TV fans who want to dive deeper with their favorite shows when they are on the go and to interact in real-time with other viewers while watching in primetime."

This article, written by Chloe Albanesius, originally appeared on PCMag.com and is republished on Gear Live with the permission of Ziff Davis, Inc.

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