[opendtv] Re: Sony To Take Viacom Over-The-Top | Multichannel

  • From: "Manfredi, Albert E" <albert.e.manfredi@xxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: "opendtv@xxxxxxxxxxxxx" <opendtv@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Fri, 12 Sep 2014 01:43:11 +0000

Craig Birkmaier wrote:

> So it looks like the next big thing will be the ability to get your
> MVPD bundle OTT, without the cable or DBS subscription.

Sorry, Craig. Another overly-vague assessment of what's happening.

First, in the article you copied, did you catch this statistic?

"While cord-cutting remains a small but growing threat to the traditional 
pay-TV industry, 84% of U.S. homes still subscribe to some form of pay 
television, and 35% of households that don't take pay-TV have never subscribed 
to a pay-TV service, according to a recent study from Leichtman Research Group."

The 84 percent is likely overstated, from what we've seen in other articles 
recently. But the more significant stat is that 65 percent, a comfortable 
majority, of those who aren't paying for TV are in fact cord cutters. Said 
another way, 2 out of 3 people who don't subscribe to an MVPD are cord cutters, 
rather than cord-nevers. I very much doubt that the ESPNs and the Viacoms of 
this world have missed that stat. Did you miss it?

(And we had already seen some time ago that broadband subscriptions had 
overtaken MVPD subscriptions.)

So the take-away here is not some broad brush "MVPD migrating to the Internet," 
but rather that the content owners have come to understand that something more 
flexible is needed to keep people watching their content. If it were a simple 
matter of repeating the previous business model on the Internet, quelle 
surprise, the viewership of pay-TV would continue to drop. Just as ESPN is 
considering its options, so is Viacom. And just as it's obvious to me that this 
Internet TV game is different, it seems to be just as obvious to the Dish 
Network. As I said before, the MVPDs need to reinvent themselves as OTT 

Sony will offer something different from Hulu, Netflix, Amazon, etc. And they 
will compete head to head everywhere, or at least anywhere in the US. Hardly 
just "the MVPD bundle OTT."



Sony To Take Viacom Over-The-Top

Sony's coming "virtual" pay-TV service took a step closer to the real Wednesday 
as the CE giant and Viacom announced that they have inked a distribution deal 
that covers "at least" 22 Viacom cable channels at launch, as well as access 
the Viacom's full on-demand package.

Sony, like Dish Network and others, is developing a broadband-fed services 
tailored to reach younger demographic sets, including so-called cord-cutters 
and consumers who have never taken a pay-TV service. While cord-cutting remains 
a small but growing threat to the traditional pay-TV industry, 84% of U.S. 
homes still subscribe to some form of pay television, and 35% of households 
that don't take pay-TV have never subscribed to a pay-TV service, according to 
a recent study from Leichtman Research Group. LRG also found that the number of 
U.S. cable broadband subs surpassed cable pay-TV subs for the first time in the 
second quarter of 2014.

The distribution deal between Sony and the Viacom comes after Viacom CEO 
Philippe Dauman predicted last year at a UBS conference that there was a "very 
strong chance" that a virtual MVPD would be announced in 2014

At the Consumer Electronics Show in January, Sony announced that it intended to 
start testing an OTT pay-TV service sometime in 2014. In June, Shawn Layden, 
president and CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment America, told Re/code that the 
service, which he billed as "revolutionary,"  was "on track" to debut sometime 
later in the year "in some capacity."

Sony hasn't announced a launch date for the cloud-based TV service, only noting 
Wednesday that more details about it will be announced "in the near future."

"Our new cloud-based TV service will combine the live TV content people love 
most about cable with the dynamic experience they have come to expect from our 
network," Andrew House, group executive for Sony's Network Entertainment 
Business, said in a statement. "Viacom's award-winning networks are a perfect 
match for our new service, ensuring that our customers will be able to access 
the shows they love on their favorite devices, when and how they choose."

Thanks to the Viacom deal, Sony's coming service will have access to BET, CMT, 
Comedy Central. MTV, MTV2, Nickelodeon, Nick Jr., Nicktoons, Spike, TV Land, 
VH1, BET Gospel, Centric, Logo, CMT Pure Country, MTV Hits, MTV Jams, mtvU, 
Palladia, TeenNick, and Vh1 Classic. The Viacom-Sony deal also includes 
authenticated TV Everywhere rights. Viacom currently offers TV Everywhere apps 
from Nickelodeon, MTV, Comedy Central, BET, VH1, CMT and Logo.

Dish Network is also working on an internet based TV service and has signed up 
Walt Disney Co. and A+E Networks.

"Viacom always strives to create transformational opportunities that combine 
consumer value and technological innovation," Dauman said, in a statement. 
"Given our young, tech-savvy audiences, our networks are essential for any new 
distribution platform, and we're excited to be among the many programmers that 
will help power Sony's new service and advance a new era for television."

Dish Network is also developing a virtual MVPD service that, based on recent 
trademark filings, might carry the brand "nutv."

Dish Network chairman Charlie Ergen said last month that he expects to launch a 
single-stream OTT offering by the end of the year. Dish has already secured 
digital streaming rights with Walt Disney Co. and A+E Networks.

Intel Media pursued a virtual MVPD offering, secured its programming 
distribution rights, but got cold feet and opted to drop out and sell its 
"OnCue" assets to Verizon Communications.

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