CBS, Discovery To Join Sony’s OTT Mix

Sony confirmed that it has inked distribution deals with CBS and Discovery Communications for its coming over-the-top pay-TV service, expanding on a video programming group that already  includes a deal with Viacom covering “at least” 22 channels and on-demand rights.

Word of the Discovery deal emerged Tuesday, which a Sony spokesman has since confirmed. “We’re also excited to be partnering with CBS as well and will disclose details later on,” the Sony official said, in an emailed statement.

CBS CEO Leslie Moonves mentioned the Sony deal Wednesday, noting that the programmer had reached a “historic over-the-top agreement with Sony for rights inside the home,” Broadcasting & Cable reported. “And as new entrants they will pay us higher subscription fees than we’ve ever been paid before," Moonves added.

Moonves also announced that CBS on Thursday will be launching a new digital news service called CBSN, B&C reported. The ad-supported service will use all of CBS’s news content and distribute it across digital platforms. “This demonstrates the way we are following our viewers with CBS content wherever they are,” he said.

Moonves also announced that Showtime would be offering a domestic OTT product, "sometime in 2015. Last month, HBO announced plans to launch a standalone OTT service.

Sony has yet to announce pricing and packaging for its service, but confirmed in October that it’s still on track to start public testing of the new offering before the end of the year. The New York Postreported last month that Sony’s OTT service could offer up to 100 channels and cost up to $80 per month.

That approach appears to be a bit different than the one Dish Network is undertaking for its OTT subscription video service, which is expected to launch before the end of the year. Speaking on Dish’s earnings call Tuesday, company chairman Charlie Ergen reiterated that he is targeting a $30 per month charge for the service, estimating that the offering will likely boil down to about $1 per channel. Dish has announced OTT distribution deals with The Walt Disney Co., A+E Networks, and Scripps Networks.