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Battling Over the Future of TV

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When AT&T last week had to renew its contract with Scripps, the owner of popular lifestyle shows such as Rachael Ray and "House Hunters," it made a demand that the media company thought went too far: Exclusive rights to broadcast the content on iPads and other mobile devices.

When the two companies couldn't agree on the matter by the weekend, Scripps pulled its shows from the nearly 3 million customers who get their television service from AT&T, a strong-arm tactic that blacked out channels such as the Food Network and HGTV. The two firms managed to come to an agreement Sunday to restore service, but AT&T didn't get what it wanted.

AT&T had "demanded unreasonably broad video rights for emerging media where business models have not even been established," John Lansing, president of Scripps Networks said in a statement.

Such programming battles highlight the frantic race among a handful of powerful companies to capture the eyeballs of people who are beginning to rethink the way they watch their favorite shows as more of them appear online and as the television begins to act more like a big-screen computer.

From The Washington Post
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