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WSJ: Viacom, Sony Reach Online Pay-TV Deal

15 Aug, 2013 By: Chris Tribbey, Erik Gruenwedel

Viacom reportedly has reached a license agreement with Sony Corp. to make networks such as Nickelodeon, MTV and Comedy Central, among others, available on the latter’s pending online pay-TV service.

The deal represents the first major content license pact for Sony’s planned Web-based TV service, and mirrors pending efforts by Google and Intel to launch similar services that include transactional video-on-demand and digital sellthrough, according to The Wall Street Journal, which cited sources familiar with the situation.

The pact is unique in that it underscores a growing willingness by media companies to license network programming to over-the-top services — a scenario previously considered unlikely due to existing transmission agreements with multichannel video program distributors such as cable, satellite and telco.

Indeed, Viacom last year haltingly agreed that ratings declines at Nickelodeon were primarily due to increased competition from Netflix and Amazon Prime Instant Video, both of which had thriving platforms devoted to streaming children's fare without commercials.

Sony reportedly plans to have its pay-TV service operating when it launches the PlayStation 4 video game console.

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