Viacom Inks Pact with Sony for Internet TV Service

Media conglom's first over-the-top deal encompasses live and VOD content for at least 22 networks

Viacom officially announced a deal with Sony to license live and on-demand programming for at least 22 cable networks, including Nickelodeon, MTV and Comedy Central, for Sony’s forthcoming over-the-top TV service in the U.S.

The agreement with Sony marks the media conglom’s first deal to provide its networks for an Internet-based live TV and VOD service. Specific terms of the pact were not disclosed.

The announcement comes a year after word of a tentative pact between the two first leaked out. Sony said its cloud-based TV service will offer subscribers Internet-based live TV and video on demand from Viacom — as well as other unspecified programmers.

Dish Network also is assembling a low-priced OTT television service, delivered over the Internet to multiple devices. The satcaster has announced deals for the service with Disney and A+E Networks. Dish chairman Charlie Ergen has said the company has a “critical mass” of programming deals and expects to debut the Internet TV offering by the end of 2014.

Sony previously has said it would begin testing the OTT TV service delivered to PlayStation consoles, Bravia smart TVs and other Sony connected devices sometime in 2014.

“Viacom always strives to create transformational opportunities that combine consumer value and technological innovation,” Viacom president and CEO Philippe Dauman said in a statement. “Given our young, tech-savvy audiences, our networks are essential for any new distribution platform, and we’re excited to be among the many programmers that will help power Sony’s new service and advance a new era for television.”

SEE ALSO: Sony to Introduce Cloud-Based TV, Streaming Game Services

The development is positive not only for Viacom, but for the entire TV programming sector, RBC Capital Markets analyst David Bank wrote in a research note. “With a new player (Sony) entering the marketplace, the new distribution channel will bring new demand for content,” he said.

For now, neither Sony nor Dish have revealed specific pricing, availability or the full content lineup for their respective services. In announcing the Viacom deal, Sony said it will provide more details about the service “in the near future.”

“Our new cloud-based TV service will combine the live TV content people love most about cable with the dynamic experience they have come to expect from our network,” said Andrew House, group executive for Sony’s Network Entertainment Business. “Viacom’s award-winning networks are a perfect match for our new service, ensuring that our customers will be able to access the shows they love on their favorite devices, when and how they choose.”

According to Sony, there are currently more than 75 million Internet-enabled Sony devices in U.S. households.

At least 22 Viacom linear networks will be on Sony’s OTT service at launch, including: BET, CMT, Comedy Central, MTV, MTV2, Nickelodeon, Nick Jr., Nicktoons, Spike, TV Land and VH1, BET Gospel, Centric, Logo, CMT Pure Country, MTV Hits, MTV James, mtvU, Palladia, TeenNick, Vh1 Classic and Vh1 Soul. All the networks will be available in HD.

Sony also has rights to Viacom’s full VOD package — the same bundle it distributes through current cable, satellite and telco TV partners.

In addition, Viacom’s deal with Sony encompasses authenticated access to hundreds of hours of programming on the media company’s TV Everywhere websites and apps to subscribers of Sony’s OTT service. Currently, Viacom has released TV Everywhere apps for Nickelodeon, MTV, Comedy Central, BET, VH1, CMT and Logo.

SEE ALSO: Disney Deal Gives Dish the Rights for a Virtual-MSO Foray

More TV

  • Sky takeover. Undated file photo of

    Katie Keenan To Head Sky Cinema Acquisitions

    Katie Keenan is joining Sky as head of acquisitions at Sky Cinema, and will oversee film deals for the pay-TV giant’s channels. Keenan is a seasoned buyer. Most recently she was at Viacom’s international division and acquiring programming for its free-TV operation Channel 5 operation in the U.K., as well as for cable channels including [...]

  • NEW YORK, NY – JUNE, 24:

    LGBTQ Stars Honored at Variety’s Power of Pride Celebration

    New York City felt the full power of pride on Monday, as Variety celebrated its inaugural issue devoted to the annual recognition of LGBTQ people worldwide. At an intimate gathering at lower east side Manhattan hotel The Orchid, rooftop bar Mr. Purple hosted Variety’s cover stars and luminaries for cocktails and the unveiling of the [...]

  • WWE

    WWE and PP Sports Extend China Partnership

    WWE and PP Sports have signed a new multi-year agreement that will keep WWE programming airing live in Mandarin in China. In the past three years of the partnership, PP Sports has delivered more than 300 episodes of WWE programming. PP Sports will offer “Raw,” “Smackdown” and the WWE Network as a subscription VOD service [...]

  • Billy Eichner Power of Pride Variety

    Billy Eichner on Taylor Swift's 'Calm Down' Backlash

    When Taylor Swift released her “You Need to Calm Down” music video, it seemed like every member of the LGBTQ in Hollywood was included — except for Billy Eichner. “I’m still not gay enough for Taylor Swift — or too gay — I don’t know what it is,” Eichner joked at Variety’s Power of Pride [...]


    TV News Roundup: 'Highwire Live in Times Square' Tops Sunday Night Ratings

    In today’s TV news roundup, ABC’s “Highwire Live in Times Square” tops Sunday night ratings, and “Total Bellas” has been renewed for a fifth season. DATES FX will air the special event “Peabody Presents: Stories of the Year” on July 7. The program will showcase the issues honored at the 78th Annual Peabody Awards Ceremony [...]

  • Editorial use only. No book cover

    'Scream' Series Moves From MTV to VH1 for July Debut

    The long-gestating third season of the “Scream” series is finally debuting–but not on its original network. Variety has confirmed that the series will air on VH1 instead of MTV as originally planned. “Scream” will debut on VH1 on July 8 and air two one-hour episodes back-to-back for three straight nights. The third season of the [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content