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August 16, 2013
While numerous other big-name companies -- including Intel Corp., Google, and Apple Inc. -- are hard at work prepping their own online offerings, the Viacom news is the first indication that major content owners are willing to participate in the over-the-top (OTT) pay-TV revolution. (See Google, Apple Pitch Pay-TV Services.)
Sony is reportedly holding discussions with other media companies as well, including Walt Disney Co., Time Warner Inc., and CBS Corp. The consumer electronics giant also has its own content assets to mine, thanks to the Sony Pictures Entertainment subsidiary. Sony studios produce popular TV shows like Breaking Bad and Justified, along with high-budget Hollywood movies.
The licensing agreement with Viacom, if it materializes, would be a landmark deal in the feverishly competitive pay-TV market. It could also set off a firestorm among cable, telecom, and satellite TV companies anxious to protect their television turf.
Time Warner Cable Inc.has already been cited for creating contractual clauses that bar programmers from licensing their content to new online service providers. The US Justice Department is examining the competitive impacts of such backroom negotiations. (See Cable Operators Show Them the Money.)
Sony hopes to launch its new streaming service early next year on the Sony PlayStation. The company would then extend the service to Sony smart TV sets and other Internet-connected devices.
— Mari Silbey, special to Light Reading Cable
Senior Editor, Cable/Video
Mari Silbey is a senior editor covering broadband infrastructure, video delivery, smart cities and all things cable. Previously, she worked independently for nearly a decade, contributing to trade publications, authoring custom research reports and consulting for a variety of corporate and association clients. Among her storied (and sometimes dubious) achievements, Mari launched the corporate blog for Motorola's Home division way back in 2007, ran a content development program for Limelight Networks and did her best to entertain the video nerd masses as a long-time columnist for the media blog Zatz Not Funny. She is based in Washington, D.C.
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