Time Warner Cable iPad App Is Just The Tip of the Iceberg

By

TWX

There’s been a lot of press lately about Time Warner Cable’s foray into portability by offering its subscribers access to their programming via their iPads.

The controversy is that Time Warner apparently didn’t consult the  programmers before launching the new service, according to the New York Times:

“Portability is a different business proposition,” said an executive at one of the major channel owners, suggesting that there should be a premium paid for the ability to take a TV show into bed or into the bathtub. One commercial for Time Warner Cable’s app actually shows a person watching TV on a tablet while taking a bath.

A series of YouTube videos from Time Warner Cable suggests that the iPad app is just the beginning of a grand series of experiments with web services that the company plans on launching.

It’s surprising, therefore, that the programming executives claim to be caught off guard. Do programming executives ever go to the annual Consumer Electronics Show? Don’t they want people in the business of distribution to stay on top of new distribution trends and markets, and to figure out how to stay relevant in the age of cord-cutting?

One complaint noted in the New York Times article is the inability of ratings company Nielsen to keep track of viewers via mobile devices.

The chief issue is counting the audience: another executive said there had been a “stampede” of channel owners asking the Nielsen Company to include iPad streaming in its ratings of programs.

But surely the cable companies can help to fill in the blanks?

I have placed a call to Time Warner Cable, and e-mailed someone I know at the company, but have yet to hear back.

Any insights from readers on why what Time Warner is doing is really controversial appreciated.