Virtual MVPD? Maybe next year, media chiefs say

When will the U.S. see a virtual pay-TV provider operating online? Maybe in 2014, according to some media-industry executives. Their comments came at an investor conference hosted by UBS in New York.

The strongest vote of confidence came from Viacom (NYSE: VIA) CEO Philippe Dauman. He told investors he sees a "very strong chance" of one being introduced in 2014. The company has reportedly agreed to let Sony use its TV networks if it were to offer such a service. But Dauman wouldn't say this week who he thought might introduce a virtual MVPD service.

Tuesday at the same conference, Time Warner (NYSE: TWX) CEO Jeff Bewkes was asked a similar question. He seemed less confident that one would materialize in the near future. "The question of how good the virtual MVPD is going to be depends on how robust the Internet infrastructure that they will be using," he said. "And that is an open question."

"We're all open to it," Bewkes said. "The question for consumers and for rights providers is what function do the virtual MVPDs provide?" he said. They might be able to help speed the conversion to offering all TV programming on demand, a process that some traditional distributors are taking too long to accomplish, he said.

For more:
FierceCable had this report
- Variety had this report

Commentary: When will OTT pay-TV arrive?

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