Apple, Sony, Dish Push OTT Viewing Over The Top

Apple Readies TV Service; PlayStation Vue Debuts

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Credit: Sony Entertainment

Events from last week should get media buyers and marketers thinking about how to advertise in an over-the-top world.

Everyone from cable and satellite companies to technology players and networks themselves are devising ways to make TV more attractive to younger viewers, who have been less inclined to subscribe to traditional cable bundles that include hundreds of channels and a hefty price tag. But recent significant advances are signaling an imminent a la carte TV viewing environment.

Apple is readying an online TV service for the fall. The company is in talks with programmers for a slimmed-down TV bundle of about 25 channels, the Wall Street Journal reported. The service is expected to include broadcasters like ABC, CBS and Fox and will be priced around $30 per month.

Sony also introduced its PlayStation Vue over-the-top service in three markets last week—New York, Chicago and Philadelphia. Initially, Vue will offer three no-contract service tiers that range in price from $49.99 per month for 53 channels to $70 per month for about 80 or so networks.

Dish Network's Sling TV continues to add features and channels. Last week it made Sling TV available on Xbox One and added four channels—A&E, History, H2 and Lifetime—to its core $20 package.

HBO announced its first cable partner for HBO Now. The service, which will cost users $14.99 per month and debut in April, will initially be available to Cablevision's Optimum Online subscribers. HBO also struck an exclusive deal for the service to be available on Apple TV.

Showtime is expected to join HBO in the OTT arena in the "not too distant future," CBS's head honcho Leslie Moonves said earlier in the month at an investor conference. While Mr. Moonves has been tight-lipped about the demand for CBS All Access, when asked if it was on par with the 100,000 subscribers who have reportedly tried Dish's Sling TV service, he said it has surpassed that figure.

Nickelodeon is also rolling out its ad-free subscription service targeting pre-schoolers and their parents next month, while NBC is prepping a direct-to-consumer comedy platform.

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