Sony and Viacom coming together? Sony and Viacom coming together.

by Colin McGuire. 0 Comments

Photo courtesy The Associated Press

Photo courtesy The Associated Press

Well, this is interesting. The Wall Street Journal reported a couple days ago the following: Viacom, which as we all know is the mind behind MTV, Comedy Central, Nickelodeon, etc., has told Sony it could use its channels for an Internet service The Big Walkman is creating. This would be the part where I link the Wall Street Journal piece, but the Wall Street Journal makes you pay to read its content.

Oh, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t stuff written about it all elsewhere, you know. So, instead, how about we check out the lovely Brian Stelter, who piggybacked the news after the story broke. He’s far more lovable, anyway

“The agreement is believed to be the first of its kind between a major programmer and any of the technology giants that are trying to disrupt traditional modes of TV delivery,” he wrote Thursday. “If other programmers follow suit, Sony’s as-yet-unnamed service would let paying subscribers receive live cable channels the same way they use on-demand libraries like Netflix or Hulu.”

Which now leads us to this question: How much would that as-yet-unnamed service ask us poor people to pay in order to have access to said live cable channels? Naturally, of course, nobody knows quite yet. Actually, almost everything reported immediately notes how nobody from either Sony or Viacom wants to talk about it (so, who leaked it, then? I ask with a grin). Therefore, as far as particulars go … well, there aren’t any.

Yet.

The move is widely considered a major step in the right direction for the wide world of Internet TV (and especially for me, considering how I have a Sony device already at my disposal). Casey Newtown of The Verge caught up with Jim Nail, an analyst at Forrester, and Mr. Nail (how great of a last name is that?!) had a neat nugget to offer …

“The Viacom agreement is significant because it shows programmers being more flexible about where and how they deliver video to their customers,” Newton wrote. “‘The traditional television business has held back technology-driven change for at least a decade, probably longer,” he (Nail) said. ‘But this to me signals they can no longer just dig their heels in and say no. The technology, and the consumer behavior enabled by that technology, are reaching that flood crest where the dam finally breaks.'”

(Even more intriguing in the piece is a pull-out quote that addresses the big four broadcast networks, though we won’t spoil that for you here so you have to click over there! Do it! Now!).

Naturally, the news wasn’t lost on cynics and skeptics. For one, nobody was even supposed to know about this, so who’s to say the move can’t die before anything becomes official? And for two, Intel, if you remember, announced a similar pact some time ago (thanks again, archive system!), though it has yet to solidify anything officially.

Boo-hoo, says Stelter, who is among those who believe some of the true value in this news is the fact that it now gives Sony leverage to snatch up deals from other companies. Viacom is a big-deal name, and if this could lead to other big-deal names migrating over to the Home Of The Playstation, this whole ordeal could prove invaluable.

Me? I think it’s great, though I do believe that the worries are both logical and real. As time goes by, I find myself becoming more willing to actually pay true, living American currency for some type of reliable Internet television service. Aereo would be ideal, of course, but I’m not so sure that it will be offered this far up the road from Washington once it actually gets to D.C. Intel has been locked in the same stagnant position within its similar deal for what seems like light years now, too, so while the news is encouraging, none of this means that any of it will actually happen.

But … it might! And if it does, it will be interesting to see how quickly other carriage deals get made. It’s an awfully bright step from Sony, though. It already offered actual television content on its Playstation 3 far before anyone from Xbox even knew what a Netflix was. It takes millions of bricks to build a great wall. The one at hand is essential for its foundation.

Oh, and for those wondering when it would all roll out, some reports have it before the end of this year while others think it would be in 2014’s first quarter. Either way, it’s almost September, people. This could be here in no time.

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