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Viacom Connects With Sony Internet-Based TV Service

The electronics conglomerate is expected to launch an online offering to compete with cable and satellite subscription services as early as this year.

Sony has negotiated a tentative deal with Viacom that would give the electronics giant rights to deliver some of the media conglomerate’s channels over the Internet, likely by way of PlayStation gaming devices hooked up to TV screens, at least initially.

Sony’s Internet TV service could launch by the end of the year and is expected not only to compete with entrenched subscription video services from cable, satellite and phone companies, but also with Google and Intel, which are also working on Internet TV offerings.

The Viacom-Sony relationship, first reported by the Wall Street Journal, is notable for being the first of what could be several carriage deals that would put television on Internet-based services.

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People familiar with the negotiations confirmed a preliminary deal between Sony and Viacom, though both companies declined to comment.

Sony, say insiders, is also negotiating with Walt Disney, Time Warner and CBS.

Viacom has about two dozen TV channels, including Nickelodeon, MTV, Comedy Central and VH1, though it was unclear Thursday which of its channels would be included in a carriage deal with Sony.