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Sony breaks the broadcast barrier, scores 22 Viacom networks for Internet-TV service

As cord-cutters continue to search feverishly for a viable alternative to cable, it looks like Sony and Viacom have put together an enticing new package. The two companies recently announced an agreement for Sony’s quietly percolating cloud-based TV service which will grant the new service a power-pack of 22 Viacom networks at launch.

Related: Dish aims to mollify cord-cutters with new Internet TV service

The deal marks the first time Viacom has agreed to provide its networks for use in an Internet-based live-TV and video-on-demand service. Though not much has been made in the press, the deal has been in the works since at least August 2013, and negotiations between Viacom and Sony could have been under way well before then. The partnership will, in effect, connect more than 75 million Internet-enabled Sony devices with Viacom’s massive vault of content.

Viacom currently owns and operates the largest basic cable portfolio in the U.S., measured by audience share. Included in this figure is a significant 25.9-percent share of basic cable viewership among young people aged 2 to 34, according to Nielsen Media Research data cited by Viacom.

Sony’s cloud-based over-the-top (OTT) service will offer its subscribers live Internet-based TV and VOD from various major programmers, including the following content from Viacom:

  • At least 22 linear Viacom networks at launch, including BET, CMT, Comedy Central, MTV, MTV2, Nickelodeon, Nick Jr., Nicktoons, Spike, TV Land, VH1, BET Gospel, Centric, Logo, CMT Pure Country, MTV Hits, MTV Jams, mtvU, Palladia, TeenNick, VH1 Classic and VH1 Soul (all of which will be available alternately in both HD and SD formats).
  • Authenticated access to hundreds of hours of programming on Viacom’s TV Everywhere websites and apps. Viacom currently offers TV Everywhere apps from Nickelodeon, MTV, Comedy Central, BET, VH1, CMT and Logo.
  • Viacom’s full video-on-demand package.

Dish Network has recently made similar plays for content for its own OTT service, inking a new deal with Disney to acquire the rights to stream several Disney assets, including ABC, ESPN, and title networks from the brand. Dish has also recently acquired rights to several A&E network properties like A&E, Lifetime, and the History channel. Today’s news marks one of the biggest shifts in competition as both services look to pull in the growing audience of cable deserters. 

With a big-name content provider such as Viacom jumping aboard, Sony’s service should begin to attract increasing amounts of attention from the sought-after crowd of online viewers.  Sony’s upcoming service will combine traditional cable TV avenues with VOD and TV Everywhere content, a formula which could very well result in an irresistible concoction of viewing options. Throw in the fact that many of this service’s users will likely be streaming via Playstation 4 and other streaming devices, and it becomes clear that cord-cutters will have increasingly content rich choices beyond the current pay-TV paradigm.

There were no additional specific terms of agreement disclosed in Viacom’s press release this morning. Sony will announce more details about its new cloud-based TV service in the near future, so check back with us for future updates.

[image: 360b / Shutterstock.com]