Viacom Settles Dispute With Time Warner Cable Over IPad Viewing

Viacom Inc., the owner of MTV, Comedy Central and the Paramount film studio, agreed to resolve a legal dispute with Time Warner Cable Inc., allowing cable customers to see Viacom shows on devices such as Apple Inc.’s iPad.

“All of Viacom’s programming will now be available to Time Warner Cable subscribers for in-home viewing via Internet protocol-enabled devices such as iPads,” the companies said yesterday in a joint statement posted on Viacom’s website. Time Warner Cable won’t be paying more to stream shows on the gadgets, according to two people familiar with the matter who asked not to be identified because the terms are private.

Viacom sued in 2011, seeking an order blocking Time Warner Cable from distributing Viacom programming on portable electronics. Time Warner Cable also sued, seeking a ruling from the court that its contract with Viacom allowed the distribution of content on the devices.

The case underscored tensions between media companies and pay-television providers over how television content can be used in the iPad era. Consumers are increasingly watching TV on computers, tablets and other mobile devices, and cable companies are eager to accommodate them.

Last August, Viacom resolved a similar lawsuit against Cablevision Systems Corp., which had been distributing Viacom’s programming on the iPad. The companies said Cablevision could continue to run Viacom’s programs on the devices.

Shares of Viacom, based in New York, rose less than 1 percent to $47.25 yesterday. Time Warner Cable climbed less than a 1 percent as well, to $76.35.

Fees Rise

Viacom, controlled by Chairman Sumner Redstone, reported better-than-anticipated profit last quarter on increased fees from pay-TV operators. The company’s media networks unit, which contributed 92 percent of operating profit in fiscal 2011, saw a 15 percent increase in domestic fees for its cable networks. U.S. ad sales rose 1 percent from a year earlier, following a 3 percent decline in the previous quarter.

Time Warner Cable also settled a dispute over Viacom’s Country Music Television. The cable provider will continue to carry the channel, the companies said in yesterday’s statement.

The case is Viacom International v. Time Warner Cable, 11-02387, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

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