Sony and Viacom have reportedly reached a preliminary deal in offering the media giant's programming on Sony's upcoming internet-based TV service, according to The Wall Street Journal. Viacom is an American-based mass media company, home to networks that include MTV, Nickelodeon, Comedy Central, Spike, VH1, BET, and more.
News of the deal is big, considering most major media conglomerates have shied away from companies that are not the major cable and satellite operators, out of fear customers jumping ship. Sony's internet-based TV service is said to be able to stream traditional cable channels (hence Viacom) and on-demand content solely over the internet, which would be a first for the industry.
Right now, customers in the US have few choices on where to get their TV content. The major cable companies include Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Verizon, and AT&T, and two satellite providers, DirecTV and Dish Network.
Furthermore, the WSJ reports that Sony is also pursuing Walt Disney Co, Time Warner Inc and CBS Corp for the internet-based television service. With all four big names under its belt, Sony could offer a slew of content for subscribers. Presumably, the company would go after traditional cable and satellite companies by bringing down the price.
Sony has shown itself to be a large hardware company, building televisions, gaming consoles, and Blu-ray/set-top boxes. All of those devices could stream the internet-based TV service and may be perfect for enticing customers to leave their traditional cable provider. The PS4 stands out most in our mind as a prime deliverer of Sony's upcoming service.
Sony isn't the only company working towards internet-based TV. Several reports over the years note Intel, Google, and Apple have also been in talks with major media companies.
We wouldn't jump to any conclusions that Sony's product is coming any time soon - the company has yet to even confirm it. Cable companies, media companies and TV streaming as a whole are all a touchy subject, which will lead to contracts probably taking a while to pan out.
At any rate, it's interesting to see things begin to build.