updated 11:55 pm EST, Sun December 5, 2010
OnLive and Vizio talking movie subscriptions
Cloud game service OnLive and TV maker Vizio are discussing separate deals for subscription movie services of their own, sources both official and unofficial said Sunday night. OnLive is publicly committed to expanding to movies through both subscriptions and other business models, but Vizio is unofficially believed to be in early talks for content. The details weren't known to the Wall Street Journal contacts.
The newspaper further recapped known rumors surrounding other companies as well, including an Amazon VOD subscription option that would be a bonus for Prime members as well as Microsoft's Xbox 360 live TV plans, which could carry a slight premium over Xbox Live Gold.
While the OnLive move would be a branching out for a company that has so far had limited success in is original field, the Vizio move could make it a potentially serious entrant. It already has access to Netflix and Vudu but could undermine both those as well as set-top boxes like the Apple TV and game consoles by eliminating the need for both a separate service and a separate TV. Sony is only just moving in this direction with its Qriocity launch.
Much of the maneuvering would be to head off Netflix. Partners like Vizio still partly benefit even if Netflix wins, but the TV producer and many of those who compete directly have been worried the company is getting too big and thus becoming too much of a gatekeeper, much as Apple is in music. Accordingly, just like music labels, both networks such as Comcast and Time Warner Cable as well as some channels, such as Starz, are worried that they may be made obsolete if Netflix is allowed to get too many content deals.
Netflix is widely credited for Blockbuster's bankruptcy and for encouraging cord-cutting by those who can use their computers or digital media hubs to fill all of their TV and movie needs.