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Viacom starts selling another channel over the internet — outside the U.S.

BET Play goes on sale for $4 a month in 100 territories.

Peter Kafka covers media and technology, and their intersection, at Vox. Many of his stories can be found in his Kafka on Media newsletter, and he also hosts the Recode Media podcast.

Viacom must be a very, very weird place to work right now.

What with your owner and your boss fighting each other in court and all that.

But if you do work at Viacom, you still have to go about the day-to-day business of running a TV company that is trying to grapple with the internet.

So here’s one thing you can do: Sell your TV shows, direct to consumers, over the internet.

Viacom’s MTV Networks started testing out the idea last year, when it launched its Noggin service aimed at parents of preschoolers. Now MTV’s international division is trying it with a version of its BET channel, which it will start selling over the web for around $4 a month in about 100 countries, including the U.K.

BET Play won’t be a live version of the channel, though it will offer some live programming, like the BET Awards this weekend (the image at the top of this post is from a Beyonce/Jay Z BET Awards performance in 2006. Those were the days!). Instead, it will offer on-demand access to some of BET’s shows, like "Real Husbands of Hollywood."

This is the kind of move that would have been unheard of for a cable TV company a couple of years ago, but has become increasingly common following the launch of HBO’s HBO Now.

Still, Viacom is still very much a cable TV company, and it expects to make most of its money from cable TV for a while.

So while you’ll be able to buy the BET service in lots of places, in most cases it will be in countries where BET doesn’t already run on linear TV, so it won’t be competing with itself.

For now, if it can, Viacom would still rather make money from traditional TV, and traditional TV bundles, then cutting itself up and selling itself a channel at a time. It’s possible a new boss might have a different idea, but my hunch is that whoever runs Viacom will want to keep the old model running as long as they can.

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