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Sony Readying Original Episodic Content for PlayStation

20 Mar, 2014 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Add Sony to the growing list of companies greenlighting original episodic content for distribution via proprietary over-the-top video channels.

While Sony Pictures Television is no stranger to creating original content for third parties (“Breaking Bad” for AMC, “The Blacklist for NBC), including Netflix (“House of Cards”), parent Sony Corp. now wants the unit to produce original programming for its PlayStation video game console.

First up is “Powers,” a supernatural detective drama originally developed into a pilot for FX in 2011 starring Jason Patric. The reboot reportedly will be recast going forward.

The move comes as Sony Pictures is upping emphasis on scripted TV programming and downsizing more-costly theatrical productions such as The Amazing Spider-Man 2, which bows May 2. The studio is in the midst of layoffs, including more than 200 employees at its Culver City, Calif. headquarters.

When completed, “Powers” will be available for streaming through the PlayStation Network, which includes more than 30 million PS3 consoles. Sony will distribute the show separately internationally and at retail — a strategy it followed with “Cards,” which included a packaged-media boxed set.

The initiative is separate from a plan by Sony to rollout an OTT video service similar to Netflix, Hulu Plus and Amazon Prime Instant Video.

"It's about having a broad range of broadcast content to replicate the live TV experience," Andrew House, CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment, told The Wall Street Journal.

Indeed, rival Microsoft is launching original scripted programming for the Xbox platform this year, Nancy Tellem, president of Xbox Entertainment Studios, recently said at a media event.

PlayStation Network already offers transactional VOD and digital sellthrough access to proprietary and third-party new-release movies, including Oscar-nominated American Hustle and The Wolf of Wall Street — the latter ahead of its March 25 retail street date.

"It is part of a broad range of services and content already offered on PlayStation," House said.

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