Market Overview

Sony's PlayStation TV Could Score Viacom Content After Netflix Loss

Sony's (NYSE: SNE) mysterious TV service could launch sooner than later if the company's new deal with Viacom (NASDAQ: VIA) comes to fruition.

According to The Wall Street Journal, Sony has reached a preliminary agreement with Viacom for its unconfirmed pay-TV series.

Unlike Netflix (NASDAQ: NFLX), Hulu Plus or HBO Go, PlayStation TV (the rumored name that was seen in not one but two trademark filings) will offer live TV alternative to cable. On-demand content will also be distributed through the service, which means it will still pose a threat to Netflix.

But its primary demographic could include subscribers of Comcast (NASDAQ: CMCSA), Time Warner Cable (NYSE: TWC) and other traditional pay-TV services.

PlayStation TV is expected to launch on PlayStation 4 and high-definition TVs that carry the "Bravia" moniker.

As an online-only service (Sony reportedly plans to stream all of its content over the Internet), the Japanese tech giant will attempt something that is entirely new to the pay-TV industry. While Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) has already rolled out a similar service via Google Fiber, the TV portion is only available to those who also subscribe to Google's gigabit Internet service. Consumers will pay $120 per month to receive both, or $70 just for Internet access.

At that price, Google Fiber is almost as expensive as cable.

Sony's service is unlikely to have a broadband component since the company has no investment in that area. But it will require a broadband connection provided by a third party, just like all of the existing streaming video services.

The difference could be in the final price. PlayStation TV is likely to be much cheaper than cable.

And while Google Fiber is only available in a couple of cities (Google is expanding slowly to focus on the quality of the service), PlayStation TV should be rolled out nationwide pretty quickly.

If it is nationwide, that could give Sony a number of advantages, particularly when a blackout occurs for other pay-TV service.

For example, Time Warner Cable subscribers will not be able to watch CBS (NYSE: CBS) shows until the two parties agree to new service terms.

If Sony made it quicker, easier and cheaper to switch from cable to PlayStation TV (instead going of from one cable service to another), the company could do very well in this market.

In addition to Viacom, Sony is said to have had discussions with Disney (NYSE: DIS), CBS and Time Warner (NYSE: TWX).

Note: While Time Warner and Time Warner Cable have similar names, the two firms are no longer connected. The former is a content producer with companies like Warner Bros. and HBO. The latter sells cable, high-speed Internet and other services.

Disclosure: At the time of this writing, Louis Bedigian had no position in the equities mentioned in this report.

Louis Bedigian is the Senior Tech Analyst and Features Writer of Benzinga. You can reach him at 248-636-1322 or louis(at)benzingapro(dot)com. Follow him @LouisBedigianBZ

Posted-In: Bravia CBS disney Google Google FiberNews Rumors Tech Best of Benzinga

 

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