Sony and Viacom Reported to have Reached Online Pay-TV Deal

In the ongoing quest to take over your living room, it seems that Sony may have struck quite a blow to its competition. According to a Wall Street Journal article published earlier today, Sony has reportedly reached a deal with Viacom to offer content on the former’s forthcoming media devices—most notably the fall-releasing PlayStation 4 console.

If the name sounds familiar, Viacom owns MTV, Nickelodeon, Comedy Central, BET, and Paramount Pictures. While the nature of the deal isn’t clear, it’d be quite a coup for Sony to secure exclusive content-providing rights over its competitors like Microsoft and its Xbox One, and Apple and whatever its next iteration of Apple TV (or iTV) turns out to be. The deal would also presumably be for pay-per-view, on-demand content from Viacom’s media properties, though it’s entirely possible that Sony could offer it up free with different subscription packages or services like its PlayStation Plus gaming package, or maybe an as-yet unannounced television streaming package. Until there’s a formal announcement, we’ll just have to guess at what form this supposed deal might take.

The article points out that in addition to the PS4, Sony would likely bring whatever Viacom content it’s secured to its other devices, like its Bravia line of TVs, as well as mobile phones and tablets.

This is an interesting development, especially considering that Sony hasn’t made much of its PlayStation 4’s other capabilities beyond playing games. That’s one of the reasons that the PS4 is perceived by many gamers to be the preferred console during this fall’s next-gen launch: it’s geared right towards gamers. Meanwhile, the Xbox One is being marketed as a device that will do everything—web browsing, game playing, Skype calling, and, yes, television broadcasting. It’ll even have an “HDMI In” port for cable boxes to feed their content into the machine directly, meaning users won’t have to switch inputs if they want to watch television.

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But if Sony can offer its customers exclusive (or subsidized) Viacom content, that could provide a bit more extra oomph in terms of grabbing some of the Xbox One’s media diversity thunder. Hopefully we’ll get an official announcement soon. Until then, it’s all just speculation.

About the author

— Brian P. Rubin

Brian's been a writer-for-hire for the better part of ten years, creating content for Geek Magazine, Machinima, and even Hasbro's Trivial Pursuit. After living in New York for most of his life, he recently relocated to Minneapolis, Minnesota, where he plays drums in his band, the Lost Wheels, and roams the land for the midwest's best approximation of actual pizza.

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