Content giant Viacom is reportedly looking to strike a deal with mobile phone operators in the US to offer exclusive streamed content for their services.
It’s a model that the MTV and Comedy Central owner already has in other countries. In Japan, for instance, a streaming Nickelodeon channel is available on dTV-Channel, a subscription-based service owned by Japanese mobile carrier NTT DoCoMo.
CEO Bob Bakish told Reuters that the company has invested in the creation of a short-form division, which will ultimately have a head count of 100 all devoted to creating mobile-first programming.
“There are hundreds of millions of mobile users in the US who are in the nascent stages of consuming content on their devices and certainly are in the nascent stages of doing it on a pay basis,” he said.
The idea appeals to mobile carriers as well, who are looking for differentiation points amid a cut-throat market whose hallmark is unlimited nationwide 4G service.
T-Mobile USA, for instance, launched Netflix On Us, available to customers with two or more voice lines on a T-Mobile One plan, which goes for $40 per line. Netflix On Us covers the cost of one standard Netflix subscription; and for those that want the Netflix premium plan, the subscriber pays T-Mobile for the monthly difference between the standard and premium plans (about $3).