Saturday, September 20, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Sony and Viacom Make a Really Big Deal

Sony has beat major rivals to the punch, partnering with Viacom to offer internet streaming versions of super popular cable channels.

Sony and Viacom Make a Really Big Deal

“What’s Sony got that we don’t?”

  We can hear the execs at Google, Apple and Intel  tearfully asking the question today, in wake of "reliably reported" news that Sony has beaten them to a serious punch.   That is, sign the first deal to package a bunch of important TV channels for people to buy and enjoy  “whole,” in live streaming fashion (not just cut up and in time-delayed bits)  for reception on internet connected tablets, PCs, smart phones, streaming video boxes or game systems.  And that without the need to also subscribe to a cable or satellite  TV service, the only easy way you can now nab full channels  on the alternate devices.

Viacom is the channel supplier that’s decided to do the deal with Sony, fulfill the “cable cutter’s” dream.  Truth is,  adding the Viacom  stable  of properties that includes Comedy Central, the MTV/VH1/Palladia music ‘n’ pop culture group and the Nickelodeon group of kids and family channels to an internet TV mix that also includes a Hulu Plus and Netflix is pretty much all the TV that Gizmo Guy needs to get by. (OK, I want HBO, too.)  But I’m thinking Sony may also want/insist I take (or at least have easy access to) its own streaming/download Movies Unlimited and Music Unlimited services which are nicely wrought but haven’t achieved  much “traction” as yet. And I’ll probably need  a Sony made piece of hardware to pull it all in, complete the "eco-system" as Apple does so well.

We’re sure Google, Apple and Intel have also been waving big wads of cash in front of Viacom chairman Sumner Redstone’s nose  to get him to  cooperate  with their  own big plans for launching internet TV services and hardware. But Sony’s got three  Aces in the hole. A rich movie studio library.  An equally deep inventory of TV series.  And dozens of major music stars ready to make special TV appearances. All stuff Viacom needs to keep feeding the beast, all those channels it runs 24x7.

Some day the tale will be told that this “deal”  is why Sony just rejected a major stockholder’s demand to break up the Sony empire, divide the hardware and software divisions. But the truth is,  combining the means of distribution (electronics) and the entertainment  products you enjoy on them  has been Sony’s dream plan since company co-founder Akio Morita authorized the purchases of Columbia Records and  Columbia/Tri-Star Studios  decades ago.   It’s just taken this long for the rival Sony  divisions to finally get with the game plan, agree to “share and share alike.”

Jonathan Takiff Daily News Columnist
About this blog
Jonathan Takiff covers all manner of high tech gadgets – and the entertaining stuff you play on them – for the Philadelphia Daily News, philly.com and the McClatchy Tribune News Service. Reach Jonathan at takiffj@phillynews.com.

Jonathan Takiff Daily News Columnist
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