Our iPad app is colossally popular with pretty much everyone except for the management and legal teams at Fox Cable, Viacom, and Discovery networks. Over 300,000 people have downloaded the app to date and watched selected live cable TV channels in their homes using a Wi-Fi connection with no new wires, no new TVs, and no new set-top boxes.
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.”
And as you may have heard, the aforementioned programmers would like for us to pull the feeds for channels that they own from our iPad app. They are willing to threaten to sue over it, too. They also don’t want us to talk about this publicly for fear of bad PR — as though our customers are incapable of Googling a few news stories and cross-referencing them against a thinning channel lineup.
So for the time being, we’re going to have to pull some channels. Please see the following formal statement:
We believe we have every right to carry the Fox Cable Networks, Viacom and Discovery programming on the iPad app. But, for the time being, we have decided to focus our 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.
In the meantime, we will pursue all of our legal rights against the programmers who don’t share our vision. The enthusiasm of our customers and the programming partners who have embraced the app, rather than those who are solely focused on finding additional ways to reach into wallets of their own viewers, has convinced us more than ever that we are on the right path.
We will continue to fight to ensure that our customers have access to the content they pay for, no matter which screen in their home they choose to view it on.
Specifically, the following channels are being removed:
- Animal Planet
- Comedy Central
- Discovery Channel
- National Geographic
Like I said, television is melting right now. The whole TV industry is sitting on a river that’s flowing fast into the future. Some programmers are kicking the currents with feeble karate and some are getting in a boat and pulling oars along with us for the good of our customers — the people who already paid for all of this and want it really, really badly.