Cable operators should pay, then clear the way for iPad

Dan O'Shea, FierceCableThere is no dispute in life that can't be resolved with a little money changing hands. That is exactly how cable TV operators and programmers should approach mounting disputes over emerging iPad TV viewing apps.

In today's spotlight, we link to a Hollywood Reporter story that analyzes the potential for recent lawsuits over the new iPad apps to be quickly resolved in settlements. That is the mindset the entire cable TV industry should be in if they are serious about following their audiences to new screens.

Cable TV operators who were quick to launch iPad TV apps initially appeared taken aback by the negative reactions of programmers who felt they were stretching the language in ther distribution agreements. But, you have to wonder if the cable TV providers were just being coy, knowing that the new apps were likely to raise a ruckus but feeling that the opportunity was too good to pass up.

The apps have drawn lawsuits, but now the discussion of how to deal with these apps has been brought out into the open. Perhaps Viacom (NYSE: VIA) and Time Warner Cable (NYSE: TWC) (just to use examples) can agree on some new, hopefully minor fees to be paid to Viacom, and the rest of the industry can then follow the model.

If cable TV operators do end up paying a bit more to get iPad distribution rights, history suggests the fees will be passed along to consumers in some form, but service providers who have been so aggressive to fill this new screen with content should be careful to keep this from evolving into a premium service, which could stall their progress. Meanwhile, someone needs to find the right monitoring tools to track iPad TV viewing, pronto.--Dan

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