Viacom Will Offer 22 Networks Via Sony’s Internet TV Service

In a deal that will offer more options for TV viewers, Viacom announced yesterday that it has reached an agreement with Sony to make 22 of its networks available through Sony’s new Internet-based television service, expected to launch later this year. The subscription service plans to offer live TV and on-demand programming via connected Sony devices, including PlayStation game consoles and smart TVs. This marks the first time Viacom networks will be made available through such a service.

videostream“Sony’s service signals a new era of television, in which consumers have more options to pay for the programming they want to watch on their devices,” reports The New York Times. “The proliferation of new options also means a bigger payday for television network groups, with the new distributors often paying a premium for their programming compared with the cable and satellite companies.”

According to people familiar with the matter, Sony has also held talks with Discovery, Starz and Time Warner, among other network groups, regarding additional content.

“Dish Network, the satellite television provider, recently struck a deal with Disney to stream its networks on Web-connected devices,” notes NYT. “Verizon this year acquired Intel’s television-on-the-Internet venture OnCue to create an interactive video service. And on Wednesday, Leslie Moonves, the chief executive of CBS, said that he was open to making Showtime available to noncable subscribers.”

The industry is experiencing a shift in the number of consumers interested in paying for traditional cable or satellite packages (subscriptions are expected to plateau in the U.S. this year at 104 million households). And for the fourth consecutive year, more Americans plan to cut the cord over the next 12 months, according to research from Frank N. Magid Associates.