In an announcement that Forbes magazine says will make cord cutting easier than ever, Sony has cut a deal with Viacom that will bring 22 Viacom networks — including Comedy Central, Nickelodeon and MTV — to Sony’s online TV initiative.
Sony reportedly plans to begin testing on the service later this year.
“The news is a big deal because it’s the first real shot fired at the cable-dominated landscape,” the story reports. “The new Sony service will give people the ability to watch shows like ‘Spongebob Squarepants’ and ‘The Daily Show’ without a cable subscription. Viewers will be able to access the service through Sony’s PlayStation video game console or through mobile devices like the iPad. Users will have access to live streams as well as archived shows.”
Other contenders in the space, including Dish, are also exploring offering online-only television, the report notes.
“Dish Network has a deal with Disney that allows it to offer Disney channels, like ABC and Disney Channel, as a standalone service. But it hasn’t made any moves on that front yet. Last week CBS COO Joseph Ianniello hinted that his company could soon offer Showtime as a standalone online-only subscription,” the story reports.
The piece hints that cable companies have reason to be nervous about the Viacom-Sony news, noting: “This is the first time we’ve seen an actual deal hit the press.” Cable companies, the report says, are facing a possible future where they’re mainly just providing a pipe, rather than connecting directly with customers.
“But a future where we only pay for the things we want to watch and we watch it all online is still very far away,” the Forbes story adds. “There’s still a lot we don’t know about Sony’s service. A spokesperson for the company wouldn’t say if the channels will be offered a la carte or as part of a package. If Sony decides to offer the Viacom stations as a bundle, it will be replicating some of the problems people have with cable — namely paying for stations they don’t want.”