Sony has announced the unfortunate news in a post on the official US PlayStation Blog that Sony's PlayStation Vue will be removing more than 20 Viacom channels, including Nickelodeon, MTV, Comedy Central and Spike, from the television streaming service on Friday 11th November 2016.
Dwayne Benefield, head of PlayStation Vue, announced the channel lineup change today, saying, "As part of our ongoing evaluation of the PlayStation Vue offering, we have determined that removing the bundle of channels from Viacom is the best way for us to continue to offer the most compelling value to our fans."
The change, which goes into effect at 12:01 a.m. ET on Nov. 11, will affect all Nickelodeon channels (Nick, Nicktoons, Nick Jr., TeenNick, The Splat, Nick at Nite), BET channels, Centric, CMT channels, Comedy Central, Logo, MTV channels, Spike, Tr3s, TV Land and VH1. According to a support FAQ, "Viacom programming will no longer be available through" PlayStation Vue’s DVR-like My Shows feature.
Until now, the service has made available a vast number of Viacom channels, even to customers subscribing to its cheapest “Access” tier. For instance, the slimmest bundle a Sony Vue subscriber can get comes with at least 11 Viacom channels, including MTV, Comedy Central, Nickelodeon, CMT, MTV 2, and Spike.
The change will happen in just three days away, so this announcement is incredibly abrupt and very likely to anger customers.
While the relationship between Sony and Viacom seems to have unfortunately suddenly soured, Viacom is supporting AT&T's DirecTV Now streaming service and is in discussions with Google for its own live TV offering. Hulu is also expected to launch a live, linear TV service within the next few months. All of those things together means that both PlayStation Vue and its original rival, Dish’s Sling TV, are about to face major competition.
In Sept. 2014, Viacom became Sony’s first partner for Vue. Both touted at the time that their deal included carriage of more than 20 Viacom channels. Viacom executives talked up Sony’s service in comparison to Dish Network Corp.’s Sling TV because of Sony’s willingness to carry all its networks and the Japanese company’s vast installed user base of PlayStation console gamers.
In the Tuesday post, Mr. Benefield didn’t address whether Sony Vue rates will come down as a result of dropping the Viacom channels. In an email to The Wall Street Journal, a Sony spokeswoman said “we have no pricing changes to announce at this time.”
Original sources: Polygon, The Verge.
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