Word on the grapevine is that Sony is edging closer and closer to launching its first internet TV service, having apparently bagged Viacom with a huge contract. However, as compelling an idea as it may be in theory, analysts are already speaking of their distinct lack of optimism when predicting Sony’s future in the internet TV industry.
And it isn’t that Sony doesn’t have what it takes to launch a stunning service, but rather a case of all bases already being covered by rivals. The news came amidst an arsenal of rumors that internet TV services were also on the cards for other big names like Apple, Google, Microsoft and Intel to name just a few – Sony apparently isn’t the only powerhouse interested in the TV market.
Should an internet TV war kick off as the rumors certainly suggest, Sony might start out with a distinct advantage to give it a head-start. Sealing a deal with Viacom will undoubtedly work in Sony’s favor and could provide access to various top-level networks including MTV, VH1, Nickelodeon and Comedy Central.
There’s also talk that Sony is far from finalizing deals with other important partners, including Disney and Time Warner. If the deal with Viacom is struck and made official, it could encourage these and others to follow suit. Sony’s TV network could be streamed directly into the homes of anyone already in possession of a combatively piece of hardware, like various Sony TVs, laptops and games consoles.
Should Sony find a way of undercutting its rivals to a significant degree, there’s a strong chance the firm’s internet TV service will prove very attractive.
However, as far as the critics are concerned it isn’t quite as easy as readying a service that’s a cut above the services already on offer. They argue that consumers are just too comfortable and content with their current paid-TV services to suddenly up-sticks and head for Sony’s doors by the million.
The point is made that if the paid-TV industry were as easy to crack as this, players like Apple and Microsoft would have done it long ago.
The key to success lies in not only offering consumers lower prices than they are currently paying, but providing something that isn’t readily available already. And when you consider just how little is already missing from existing subscription TV services, you begin to understand why even a global brand like Sony might struggle.