Live news coverage from CNN and Headline News is now available on mobile devices to subscribers of certain paid TV services.
Time Warner, which owns CNN and Headline News, announced today that its regular news channel programming will be streamed live over the Internet and available for people to view on their laptops, smartphones, or tablets if they subscribe to certain paid TV services.
Cable, satellite, and telco TV providers offering the service to their subscribers include: AT&T, Comcast, Cox Dish Network, Suddenlink, and Verizon Communications. Notably missing from this list are Cablevision and Time Warner Cable. Time Warner Cable is the second largest cable operator in the country.
The live TV streaming from these channels is available through a browser at CNN.com and on dedicated apps for the Apple iPad and iPhone. Time Warner said the service will also be available for other smartphone and tablet operating systems later.
The way it works via a browser is that people can go to the CNN.com video page and click the "Live" tab. Then they'll log in through their cable, satellite, or telecom provider with a username and password. Mobile device users can download the CNN App for iPad or the CNN App for iPhone and iPod Touch (or update their app to version 1.2 for iPhone, 1.1 for iPad), and authenticate in the same way.
Time Warner has been at the forefront of the "TV Everywhere" effort that allows people to watch TV programming as part of their existing paid TV subscriptions on their mobile devices. The company has already been offering its HBO Go service to people already subscribed to certain paid TV services, such as DirecTV.
The idea behind offering TV content on multiple screens, such as tablets and smartphones, is to keep TV viewers subscribed to paid services by offering them more variety and flexibility in how they view their favorite programs and channels.
"A principle goal for CNN is to make more of our content available to more people on more platforms, and CNN's participation in the TV Everywhere initiative is another step forward in that effort," Jim Walton, president of CNN Worldwide, said in a statement. "We have long believed that our growth depends on keeping CNN essential and relevant to consumers wherever they are."
But making content available to consumers in this way isn't as easy as it seems. Some media companies have been battling paid TV providers over rights to offer certain video content on mobile devices. Viacom has actually sued Time Warner Cable and Cablevision for offering its content on its iPad apps. Viacom and Time Warner have suspended their lawsuit as they try to come up with a solution.
A big part of the dispute is that media companies feel they are entitled to additional compensation for allowing their content to be viewed on mobile devices, even when those devices are limited to viewing content in the home. Meanwhile, cable operators believe that their current licensing deals should apply to content viewed at home regardless of the device.
Media executives are also concerned that viewing TV shows on a tablet or laptop will not be counted as part of the current Nielsen TV rating, which is used to set advertising rates. Those issues are currently being worked out.