Sunday, April 10, 2011

Time Warner Cable and Viacom Seek Ruling on iPad App

Editor's Note: This story is interesting on several levels. Remember how old media always had control of content? It told you what the news was and when you could read or view it. Then the Internet came of age. Now, we see new battlegrounds forming with some of the same old players. Technology has changed how media is delivered, but has it really improved the content we as consumers receive? And are media companies all that different from the past? The faces may be different, but the issues seemed to be similar. Most companies want to earn the biggest profits possible. Big profits often boils down to having something people want and then limiting access so you can control pricing. But to limit access you need to be in control of the technology or platform that delivers the content. It used to be TV stations or newspapers. In the case of the story that follows this comment, we are talking about access to the iPad. So even as technology advances and offers more opportunities are we bound to see new limits on what we can view, read, download or purchase? We seem to be going in a circle. Are we really ahead? - MT

NYT - Time Warner Cable and Viacom each filed lawsuits on Thursday that seek to resolve a stormy dispute in the television business over the right to stream channels to new devices like iPads.

Cable companies like Time Warner Cable say their existing contracts with channel owners like Viacom cover devices like iPads that can be turned into television sets. Some of the channels owners disagree, and they have been exchanging threats with Time Warner Cable ever since its TWCableTV app was released in mid-March.

When Viacom, Scripps Networks, Fox Cable Networks and Discovery Communications threatened legal action a week ago, Time Warner Cable temporarily removed their channels from the app. But it said it would pursue legal options, and on Thursday afternoon, the company filed a request for a declaratory judgment in favor of its app — and against Viacom — in Federal District Court for the Southern District of New York.

The company’s general counsel said Time Warner Cable was “asking the court to confirm our view” that the company has the rights to in-home viewing of channels on any screen.

Minutes later, Viacom said it had filed its own suit in the same court for breach of contract and copyright violations.

1 comment:

  1. We are going in a circle. Whenever new technology is introduced, we see a temporary increase in connectivity. Major corporations then step in and find ways to restrict connectivity and control profits.

    We are seeing this now with the iPad disputes and the Net Neutrality disputes. These corporations realize that mass connectivity is not the key to a good business model and are taking actions against it.

    Content providers got that wrong with the launch of the internet. By assuming that mass connectivity would drive mass audiences and advertising revenue, they overlooked a key characteristic of the internet: content dilution. All of the content on the internet ended up being diluted and worthless.

    This may be why we are seeing websites like The New York Times offering "digital subscriptions" to control their readers and pricing. It will be interesting to see if this will be an industry trend or go away. Personally, the content would have to be very rich for me to pay for it when there are millions of free websites with content that is almost as good.