This would appear to be the potentially revolutionary virtual pay TV service that’s been widely anticipated by the media elite. Sony Computer Entertainment Group CEO Andrew House told the International CES confab that the Sony Entertainment Network will be introduced as a “new cloud based service in U.S. this year” and it will include the “most popular live TV programs combined with a large library of VOD content” — although he offered no specifics. It will have “an intuitive and dynamic interface that gets to know you.” Users won’t need multiple boxes, and can view across devices. They also can harness social media connections and their own viewing history to help discover new shows. House — given a segment to talk during Sony CEO Kazuo Hirai’s keynote — says that Sony “will make TV a more personalized and dynamic service” adding that “no other company is better poised to lead the TV revolution than Sony.” The big question is whether Sony will be able to offer pay TV channels apart from the conventional cable and satellite bundles. If it can, then the service might promote cord-cutting — which could upend economic assumptions for traditional media companies.
Hirai also shared part of his presentation with Sony Pictures CEO Michael Lynton and Breaking Bad creator Vince Gilligan. Lynton talked up the financial benefits from streaming services led by Netflix. “It’s changed both the marketplace and the economics of the business, both for the positive.” Gilligan also praised the services for encouraging binge viewing, which makes it easier to tell serialized stories. He also likes new, inexpensive high-resolution cameras. “We can put cameras anywhere. In the back of a mailbox or the wheel well of a car…We can risk breaking them.” Gilligan also says he’s eager to see Sony’s new headset viewer that enables users to be “enveloped by the story telling.” As for his Breaking Bad sequel, Better Call Saul, he says that writers are “plugging away” and hope to have the show available “in about a year.”