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MTV, Comedy Central to Show Up on Sony's Internet-TV Service

Sony has struck a deal with Viacom to sell cable channels over the Internet.

Reuters / Toru Hanai

Sony just got one step closer to selling television over the Web.

The hardware and entertainment company cut a deal with Viacom to sell 22 of its cable networks over the Internet, the first programmer to come on to Sony’s still-theoretical service. The agreement includes popular channels like MTV, Nickelodeon and Comedy Central, and while we don’t know how much Sony is paying Viacom for this right, it’s sure to be more than what traditional distributors like Time Warner Cable or Dish pay to carry those networks.

Dish, by the way, already cut a similar agreement with Walt Disney Company to sell its channels, including ESPN, over the Web, which would be separate from its satellite offering. Other companies have tried and failed to sell TV subscriptions over the Internet (hello Intel), but if someone can pull it off, they’ll have the chance to sell TV to anyone with a broadband connection. Also, there’ll be no need to send out service personnel to set up your TV as with cable or satellite.

Both Sony and Dish will have to sign more deals with other programmers (e.g., 21st Century Fox, CBS, Time Warner Inc., NBCUniversal*) before they can start selling it to consumers. We also don’t know how much they plan on charging, but it’s likely to be in the range of $25 to $35. It’s also very likely you won’t be able to buy channels a la carte.

* NBCUniversal is an investor in Revere Digital, Re/code’s parent company.

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