Anonymous sources suggest Sony and Viacom have signed a deal to deliver Internet-based pay TV, pipping Microsoft and Google at the post.
Citing anonymous sources familiar with the matter, the Wall Street Journal reports Sony is planning to stream cable channels and on-demand programming, in competition with traditional pay TV services like cable and satellite.
The Viacom content would be delivered to PlayStation devices as well as Sony smart TVs, with later plans to extend the service to tablets and smartphones. Sources said Sony's TV browsing interface is graphic-rich, superior to "clunky" offerings elsewhere.
It's not clear if Viacom's deal would be an exclusive, or whether other companies could also sign the company to their own services. The sources said the details of the Viacom deal are still being negotiated, and that Sony is in discussion with Walt Disney (which owns ESPN), Time Warner (HBO, TNT and TBS) and CBS (Showtime) as well.
The deal seems quite credible as Viacom has been aggressively chasing IPTV, notably providing dedicated apps for Xbox Live and providing content for services like Netflix.
Although the Sony Entertainment Network currently hosts a number of cable channels and entertainment apps, accessible via PlayStation 3, neither it nor its rivals in the race for IPTV have signed an entire provider of Viacom's size before. Viacom's channels include MTV, Nickelodeon, Paramount, Comedy Central, VH1 and Spike.