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Time Warner pulls MTV, FX from iPad app to placate broadcasters

After complaints from the three big media companies Viacom, Discovery Communications and News Corp., cable operator Time Warner has agreed to stop providing several channels from its iPad app.

Time Warner had been distributing its cable programing to its paid subscribers via the iPad app as a convenience, but the media companies want more money from the cable operator for providing the same content to the same customers via iPad in addition to their conventional TVs.

Time Warner said it believed it had “every right to carry the programming on our iPad app," according to a report by the New York Times.

"But, for the time being," the cable operator said in a statement today, "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.”

It added, "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."

The operator said it would replace the blocked channels with new programming from different sources. Time Warner's iPad app had been carrying 32 channels, representing a small portion of its entire cable lineup.

Cablevision separately said it would also offer an iPad app that mirrored all the content available to its TV watchers, including video on demand. It hasn't yet reported any complaints from media companies, according to the Times report.