Intel has reportedly made headway with some pretty big programming names--Viacom (NYSE: VIA), Comcast (Nasdaq: CMCSA)-owned NBCU and Time Warner (NYSE: TWX)--as it prepares to launch a competitive over-the-top pay TV service later this year.
According to a Bloomberg story, which quoted sources "with knowledge of the situation," the three media companies "have signed off on the broad outlines of the proposed service" but, of course, some aspects need to be settled so no one is talking from any of the parties. The deal would probably include Time Warner's CNN, NBCU's USA Network and Viacom's MTV and "would give Intel critical mass to offer consumers an alternative to established pay TV services," the story said.
Intel's plan is to build a set-top box--with Intel inside, of course--then offer a modular programming package that's not quite a la carte but is less structured than a traditional pay TV service. It would then offer services across existing broadband pipes as less traditional, but still over-the-top content later this year.
According to Bloomberg, Intel is also readying financial negotiations with Fox's News Corp. (Nasdaq: NWSA) parent company and is in a "more preliminary stage" of talks with Walt Disney Co. (NYSE: DIS) and CBS.
Analysts, discussing the move with Bloomberg, thought it was a win-win for Intel and the content providers.
"It's great for the media companies," said RBC Capital's David Bank in an e-mail to Bloomberg. "Intel will have to pay a premium as the new kid on the block."
- Bloomberg carried this report
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