Viacom, Time Warner Cable settle dispute over app

May 17, 2012

(AP) -- Viacom Inc., the parent of pay TV networks MTV and Comedy Central, has settled a dispute with Time Warner Cable Inc. over whether its subscribers can watch shows like "Jersey Shore" on mobile devices while at home.

The settlement means that over the next few weeks, shows from Viacom networks will be available for viewing on iPads, iPhones and Android devices for people who pay for a video package of "expanded basic" or better. The shows are watchable through the TWC TV app.

The settlement won't make such shows available when customers are outside the range of their home Wi-Fi networks. That means it's not technically "TV Everywhere." That's a term that describes a push by media companies and providers to give subscribers access to shows on mobile devices to entice them to keep them paying for television.

The companies sued each other in April 2011 over whether Time Warner Cable, the nation's fourth-largest pay TV signal provider, had to pay more for in-home viewing rights on devices other than the television. The suits were filed after Time Warner included Viacom shows in its TWC TV app in March of last year.

Terms of the settlement weren't disclosed.

Both sides stuck to their initial positions, which means Viacom believes the rights must be negotiated for a price and Time Warner believes them to be part of its regular TV deal.

In August, Viacom settled a similar dispute with Cablevision over its in-home iPad app.

Viacom spokesman Mark Jafar said in a blog post that the settlement was "very good news for consumers."

Time Warner Cable spokesman Jeff Simmermon blogged, "watching TV in bed instead of communicating with your spouse is about to get a whole, whole lot better."

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