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PlayStation Vue Dropping Viacom Channels

8 Nov, 2016 By: Erik Gruenwedel

PlayStation Vue, Sony’s online television platform, Nov. 8 announced changes to its content line-up, including the departure of all Viacom channels, effective Nov. 11.

Exiting Viacom channels, which have been part of Vue since its launch last year, include Comedy Central, MTV, Nickelodeon, VH1 and Spike, among others.

“As part of our ongoing evaluation of the PlayStation Vue offering, we have determined that removing the bundle of channels from Viacom is the best way for us to continue to offer the most compelling value to our fans,” Dwayne Benefield, VP and head of PlayStation Vue, wrote in a blog post.

Vue, which offers multiple programming tiers priced from $29.99 monthly, is adding BBC America, NBA TV (priced separately), Vice and local CBS and Fox affiliates.

The channel reshuffle underscores the appeal and fluidity of online TV, which aims to attract broadband-only subscribers with month-to-month access to content predicated upon consumer popularity.

This is a departure from linear pay-TV, which offers set channel line-ups representing myriad channels under long-term contracts. Online TV services such as Sling TV, Spectrum TV Plus and Vue were the first to offer pay-TV benchmarks such as ESPN, TNT, HBO and AMC, in addition to ABC, Disney Channel and NFL Network across portable streaming devices such as Roku, Android TV, PCs and Apple iOS, without a pay-TV subscription.

The move underscores ongoing challenges Viacom, which also owns Paramount Pictures, faces in an evolving home entertainment ecosystem in which ubiquitous consumer demand trumps traditional retransmission agreements. Viacom majority shareholder Sumner Redstone is attempting to merge the media giant with former subsidiary CBS Corp., which remains part of Vue.  

“As demonstrated by the new channels announced today, we will continue to expand the PlayStation Vue service by adding devices and networks that are highly requested by our fans,” Benefield wrote.

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