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Sony signing Viacom PS4 TV deal, but what about the UK?

Sony is plotting to add TV channels including MTV and Comedy Central to the PlayStation 4, but what will this mean for UK owners?

The impending deal with Viacom would add channels such as Comedy Central, MTV, BET, CMT, VH1, Nickelodeon and Spike to the PS4, says The Verge.

Deals like this rarely have an international angle, with TV programmes usually sold independently of their channels overseas.

Sony signing Viacom PS4 TV deal, but what about the UK?
The UK’s PS4 entertainment line-up will look very different from the USA

The UK has one of the most competitive and technologically advanced TV markets in the world, and programmes are often sold with broadcast, online and handheld rights packaged together.

The next-next-gen Xbox One and PlayStation 4 consoles are both being pitched as all-in-one entertainment and gaming hubs.

Microsoft has its deal for Sky Go on Xbox 360, and we’d expect this to continue with the Xbox One. Sky might want to expand its reach, but it may be locked-in with Microsoft.

On the other hand, Sky’s probably happy to have Now TV on as many devices as possible, selling film and sports at premium rates.

It’s likely both consoles will launch with BBC iPlayer, 4oD, ITV Player, Netflix, Lovefilm, YouTube and Blinkbox as standard – you’d be mad not to.

That’s as much TV and film as your customers will need, with a sprinkling of special interest services like Crunchyroll. 

Sony already has some exclusive services: Video Unlimited and Crackle, which both compete with and complement the others. The PS4 will be 4K-compatible, but there’s no plan for UK content yet.

That choice might divert money from Sony’s coffers, but it gives users the comfort of knowing they can use existing subscriptions on their new devices.

So we don’t think you’ll see Sony (or Microsoft) signing up individual British TV channels, but there may be a few exceptions. 

With Dave On Demand, YouView has seen the first launch of a catch-up service from a broadcaster outside the BBC, ITV and Channel 4. It’s going to be followed by catch-up for other parts of the UK TV family: Really and Yesterday.

When the new consoles find big enough user numbers (and it could take a while), broadcasters will find them an attractive route to reach the on-demand generation who don’t watch Freeview or Sky.

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