Sony to Add Original TV Shows for PlayStation
Sony Corp. is venturing into original TV programming for its PlayStation as part of an ambitious effort to make the device a home for TV and not just videogames.
The electronics and entertainment giant plans to offer original series through the gaming console, on top of an online pay-TV service it plans for users of the device.
First up will be a one-hour Supernatural drama series, "Powers," to be produced by the company's in-house studio, Sony Pictures Television, company executives said.
The show, which centers on a detective who investigates crimes involving people with special powers, will be available exclusively in the U.S. on what the company calls its PlayStation Network, which includes some 30 million Internet-connected PlayStation devices, the company said. Users will be able to stream the show just as they would watch, say, "House of Cards" on Netflix, which can be accessed through the PlayStation Network.
The move is separate from the planned online pay-TV service, which would offer traditional TV channels available through cable, satellite or phone companies. Sony has been in discussions with major media companies to acquire rights to offer channels over the Internet, people familiar with the matter say.
"It's about having a broad range of broadcast content to replicate the live TV experience," said Andrew House, president and group CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment Inc., which oversees the PlayStation unit.
Sony's foray is the latest example of how videogaming devices are incorporating more entertainment features as they try to broaden their appeal in the living room. The PlayStation already allows users to buy an array of digital downloads, such as TV shows and movies, and can access streaming services. The company recently said it also plans to launch a service to stream games.
For Sony, the PlayStation TV initiative is a chance to show that the entertainment and technology wings of the sprawling conglomerate can work closely together.
Some critics have argued there isn't enough synergy among Sony's divisions. Last summer, activist investor Daniel Loeb pushed for Sony to sell off part of its entertainment business through a public offering, amid lackluster results in the company's film unit. Sony rejected the proposal.
The PlayStation initiative "is an example of why the businesses do work very well together," said Michael Lynton, CEO of Sony Entertainment. He said Sony selected "Powers" from several potential projects partly because it would resonate with gamers. The show includes elements of superhero fantasy, police procedurals and crime noir. "It overlays extremely well with the demographics of the PlayStation," he said.
Mr. House declined to comment on the specifics of how Sony's original TV shows will be marketed-whether consumers will need to pay a fee to view them, for example, and whether the Sony shows would be available as part of the pay-TV offering.