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Viacom CEO: Strong Chance There Will Be Internet Pay-TV Provider in 2014

Cable and satellite TV incumbents will very likely see a new Internet-based competitor vying for their business next year, Viacom president and CEO Philippe Dauman predicted.

Dauman, whose company owns top cablers including MTV, Comedy Central, Nickelodeon, said a “virtual” pay-TV provider will probably make an appearance in 2014.

“I think there’s a very strong chance of that,” Dauman said, responding to a question during a session at the UBS Global Media & Communications Conference in New York Monday. “I’ll leave it to any such entity to make their own announcements.”

SEE ALSO: Why Cable Operators Might Be Secretly Rooting for Over-the-Top TV Services

Viacom reportedly reached a deal with Sony this summer to distribute its networks to Internet-enabled devices such as the PlayStation videogame consoles.

Dauman’s confident prediction over over-the-top disruption to the pay-TV market comes as one of the most closely watched initiatives — from Intel — has hit the virtual skids. Intel Media, led by former BBC exec Erik Huggers, had been aiming to debut a broadband TV service in 2013 but has had difficulty securing programming deals. Intel now is reportedly trying to sell the unit as the chipmaker pulls focus back to its core business.

But the apparent shift in Intel’s strategy doesn’t mean OTT television — offering enhanced viewing interfaces, and possibly more flexible pricing options — is dead. Indeed, Verizon is looking into acquiring the Intel Media division and could use that to launch its own virtual pay-TV service.

SEE ALSO: Why Intel’s Huge Project to Challenge Pay TV Could End Up in Pay-TV Land

Sony, for its part, is still exploring several different scenarios for how it could bring cable TV to PlayStation consoles, according to Mike Aragon, VP and g.m. of global digital video and music services for Sony Network Entertainment.

“I don’t think we have an answer yet,” Aragon said in an interview last month ahead of the PS4 launch in North America. “We are looking at lots of things…. there are multiple paths that can get you there.”

Google and Apple are among other tech firms said to be looking into the idea of delivering subscription TV services over broadband. Meanwhile, pay-TV execs including Dish Network chairman Charlie Ergen have said they are looking into the possibility of introducing Internet-delivered TV services to complement their existing video businesses.

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