Time Warner Cable Launches Public Campaign Defending Its Controversial iPad App

The cable operator's new ad promotes "more freedom to watch on more screens" and asks, "Why do some TV networks want to take it away?"

Time Warner Cable is launching a public campaign to defend its iPad app against TV channel owners who have argued the company does not have the right to live stream their channels under existing deals.

On Monday, the cable operator launched an ad campaign promoting "more freedom to watch on more screens," as noted by the New York Times. It also asks, "Why do some TV networks want to take it away?"

The campaign comes on the heels of legal threats made last week.

Among those who reportedly claim TWC is in violation of existing deals are Scripps Networks, whose Food Network is part of the app's channel lineup; MTV owner Viacom; and Discovery Communications.

Scripps has said it had "not granted iPad video streaming rights to any distributor" and that it is addressing "any misunderstandings."

A top TWC executive last week said her company is "well within our rights" to stream live TV channels to iPads in subscribers' homes via the app and is planning to add all networks available on TWC to the app's channel lineup.

"We don't define in our contracts what a viewing device is, because technology has always been evolving," Melinda Witmer, the cable giant's chief programming officer, told the Wall Street Journal. "I don't know what a TV is anymore. It's kind of an anachronistic term."

TWC and other pay TV operators are looking to offer new tech solutions as Internet-connected TV sets, tablet computers and other new devices allow consumers to watch video content without pay TV subscriptions, leading to cord cutting fears.

"It is very important that we be there as a provider," Witmer added.

The TWC app crashed on its first day amid high consumer demand.