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Cable Technology Feature Article

June 23, 2011

Viacom Sues Cablevision For Streaming Content On iPads

By Tracey E. Schelmetic, TMCnet Contributor

Here's a complicated one from the continuing “Who is Suing Whom” Files.

In today's episode of our soap opera, media conglomerate Viacom is suing Cablevision for allowing its subscribers to view Viacom content on Apple (News - Alert) iPads. Got that? Viacom is explaining it filed the suit in order to protect its “valuable content.” (Translation: it's not making enough cash out of the process, so it's going to take its ball home and slam the door.)

Yahoo's Atlantic Wire blog is reporting that Cablevision, the eighth largest cable company in the U.S., has become one of many cable companies trying to stay relevant by offering its subscribers apps for streaming content such as The Daily Show or Jersey Shore directly onto their iPads.

Viacom, the world's fourth largest media company, reportedly sued Time Warner (News - Alert) Cable last year for the same reason, though that suit has been put on indefinite hold when Time Warner suspended showing the content.

“Whatever goodwill exists between Viacom (News - Alert) and Time Warner Cable over the issue is non-existent with Cablevision Systems,” Joe Flint at the Los Angeles Times told the Atlantic Wire blog. “Time Warner Cable pulled Viacom's channels when the programmer raised concerns, and then the two companies exchanged suits. But Cablevision has disregarded Viacom's requests to have its channels removed from the iPad service.”

In the future, expect to see a lot more suits of this nature as the content providers wrestle with the delivery channels and distributors, the device makers and the mobile service providers for profit and dominance, particularly when it comes to popular and profitable programming.

Tracey Schelmetic is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of Tracey's articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Jamie Epstein