Time Warner Cable Inc., the second-largest U.S. cable operator, is adding live out-of-home programming for the first time to its TWC TV application, letting customers watch shows on Apple Inc. mobile devices.
Time Warner Cable will make as many as 11 live national news, sports and entertainment channels available outside the home starting at 10 a.m. New York time tomorrow, according to Maureen Huff, a company spokeswoman. They include the Big Ten Network, the Pac-12 Network, TV Guide Network and BBC America. In addition, customers will have access to some local channels, including NY1 for New Yorkers. The programming will be available for Apple’s iPad, iPad Mini, iPhone and iPod Touch.
The New York-based cable provider is following the lead of Comcast Corp., the largest U.S. cable operator, and DirecTV, the nation’s biggest satellite-TV provider, in giving customers certain live and on-demand content on mobile apps. It’s part of a cable-industry shift toward a concept known as “TV Everywhere,” where subscribers can watch television in any location with a wireless connection.
“This is a paradigm shift, and it’s only going to accelerate,” said Porter Bibb, managing partner at Mediatech Capital Partners, a New York-based merchant bank. “TV Everywhere is a short-term answer. If you’re under 30, especially, you don’t want to pay a full cable bill to get content out of the home.”
The TV Everywhere movement is driving changes throughout the industry. Dish Network Corp.’s $25.5 billion bid for Sprint Nextel Corp., announced yesterday, is centered on the premise that consumers want the same TV-viewing experience inside and outside of the house, Charlie Ergen, chairman of the satellite-TV company, said in an interview.
The trend could add about $1.7 billion a year of revenue to pay-TV operators by allowing them to leverage mobile TV to increase subscriber fees, Needham & Co. estimated last year.
Billionaire Barry Diller’s Aereo Inc. startup, meanwhile, is offering broadcast content over the Internet to mobile devices for $8 to $12 a month. The company is engaged in lawsuits with networks such as News Corp.’s Fox and CBS Corp. over whether it has the right to use the programming.
The threat from Aereo prompted News Corp. Chief Operating Officer Chase Carey to say last week he may transform Fox into a pay-TV network to protect control of its content.
Time Warner Cable shares rose 0.6 percent to $93.07 at the close in New York. The stock has fallen 4.2 percent this year.
Through the mobile app, customers will also be able to watch some on-demand programming from networks such as Comedy Central, MTV and Nickelodeon, which are owned by Viacom Inc.
Time Warner Cable was the first company to bring live TV to the iPad inside the home in March 2011. Viacom sued Time Warner Cable later that year, claiming the cable operator didn’t have the proper legal rights to broadcast content on devices such as iPads. The companies later settled.