Sony announced via a blog post on Tuesday that their streaming TV offering for cord-cutters would be undergoing a channel lineup change over the coming weeks.
PlayStation Vue is dropping Viacom-owned channels from all of its packages on November 11th, reportedly to “continue to offer the most compelling value” to the service’s subscribers. Viacom channels include Comedy Central, MTV, and Nickelodeon—the latter of which seems to be drawing the most ire in Vue’s blog’s comments section.
As PlayStation Vue loses Viacom, the streaming service is picking up BBC America & NBA TV—which are live as of now—and local programming from CBS & FOX, along with VICE, all “coming soon”. Vue is continuing to provide subscribers with Disney-owned stations like ABC and ESPN, and a la carte pricing from HBO & Cinemax.
Vue is going to have to add more than a few channels to replace all of the content currently being provided by Viacom, however. As one commenter notes, Viacom-run networks account for nearly one-quarter of all programming on some of PlayStation Vue’s more popular channel packages; and, as noted, none of the new channels address the loss of quality children’s programming that Viacom’s Nickelodeon once provided.
PlayStation Vue loses Viacom at a suspicious time, as AT&T’s DirecTV is expected to launch their Internet-only offering this month. Though an exact go-live date for DirecTV Now is unknown, leaked documents point to several Viacom channels (including the aforementioned MTV and Nickelodeon) being included as part of this initial lineup. While a non-compete isn’t necessarily part of Viacom’s agreement with AT&T (in fact, that’s rather unlikely), the company may have felt pressure to increase pricing on competitive offerings in order to offset the anticipated profit decreases expected from existing satellite subscribers switching to the cheaper online-only option.
Luckily for PlayStation Vue subscribers upset by this change, the service doesn’t require a long-term commitment—so they’re free to switch to a competitor at any time.