Viacom is close to a deal to supply content from its cable channels like Nickelodeon and MTV to Sony Corp.'s new Internet-based TV service, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal.
If an agreement is reached, it would represent a huge step forward for the still nascent method of web-based television, because it would offer live programming. It could also increase options for subscribers beyond the standard choices of cable, satellite or telco.
It also comes as cable companies and content makers have been locked in an escalating series of disputes over retransmission fees. The latest skirmish involving Time Warner Cable and CBS, which like Viacom is controlled by Sumner Redstone, has resulted in blackouts of popular channels like CBS and Showtime in major markets like New York City and Los Angeles.
Sony is hoping to unveil the service by the end of the year, an unnamed source told the Journal. The service would be offered on Sony's PlayStation's console, Bravia and its televisions. Eventually it would be available on other Sony mobile devices.
Spokespeople for Sony and Viacom did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Sony has also reached out to Time Warner and the Walt Disney Company about the possibility of offering their content, according to the New York Times.
Time Warner declined to comment, and a Disney representative did not immediately respond to a request for comment.