Sony and Viacom Reach Landmark Internet Television Deal
Programming giant Viacom has reached an agreement with Sony, believed to be the first of its kind, to stream its channels over Sony's new internet TV service, a marquee feature of the PlayStation 4.
Viacom, owner of a host of channels like MTV, Comedy Central, and Nickelodeon is the first programmer to eschew traditional delivery and sign a deal to stream live content over the internet. Unlike similar services such as Netflix and Hulu, this will be day and date live programming, including new shows as they air for the first time. In contrast to Microsoft's approach, which relies on existing cable subscriptions, Sony's service would be wholly independent and provide content from its partners directly.
Sony has reportedly contacted other programmers like Disney and Time Warner, though no other agreements have yet been announced. The Viacom deal is critical because of the company's broad range of offerings and because it demonstrates to cable incumbents like Comcast and Verizon that they're no longer the only option for content providers.
If Sony is able to offer à la carte channels from a number of programmers, it could drastically change how television service is offered across the board, especially as other TV providers put out feelers regarding streaming channels over the internet. Programmers and cable customers who are sick of channels being blacked out when contract negotiations collapse would have a breadth of new options available to them.