Time Warner Cable's New iPad App Crashes on First Day Due to High Consumer Demand

7:22 PM PST 03/16/2011 by THR staff

Meanwhile, programming executives reportedly are complaining that the cable operator does not have the right to offer live streaming based on existing programming agreements.

Time Warner Cable's new iPad app allowing users to watch TV was so popular with consumers that the app crashed the day of its launch.

On TWC's Untangled blog, digital communications director Jeff Simmermon wrote Wednesday that the app -- which is the first from a cable company to offer live streaming on the iPad -- was the most-downloaded in the iTunes store Tuesday.

"The demand was overwhelming, in more ways than one," he wrote. "At about 8 o’clock last night the app crashed under a much heavier load than we anticipated. Our engineering team is working as hard as they can to put a fix in place and get everything up and running as soon as they can."

He apologized to consumers for the "frustration" and said the temporarily solution was to reduce the number of available channels from 32 to 15 until the problem is resolved. The 17 channels were restored later Wednesday.

The free app allows TCW's TV and broadband subscribers to watch cable networks including CNN, Comedy Central, Discovery Channel and CNBC live on their iPads. On Tuesday, there were nearly 80,000 downloads, according to the Wall Street Journal, which reported that the app itself has technical issues including audio problems.

"This is a work in progress," TWC spokesman Alex Dudley said. "We expect to add more channels over time and increase the app's functionality."

While consumer interest is high, programming executives at News Corp., Viacom and other companies have complained about the app, the WSJ reported, citing sources. Those executives claim that the cabler's existing agreements with their companies don't give it the right to make live programming available on Apple's tablet computer.

Said a spokesman for Scripps Networks, which owns HGTV, Food Network and other cable channels: Scripps "has not granted iPad video streaming rights to any distributor and is actively addressing any misunderstandings on this issue."

Dudley told the WSJ that the cable giant believes its deals with programmers include the right to distribute their content on any media screen inside the homes of broadband network subscribers.

"We figured there would be demand for this, but we're blown away by its popularity, and we're pleased that our customers are pleased," Dudley said. "We're not surprised that some content companies have issues with this, but the only issue our customers are asking about is why they can't do this outside their home, and we think that's really a question for the content providers."

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