First it was Netfilx with “House Of Cards” and “Lilyhammer”. Now it’s Sony’s turn to yield an original TV series to be delivered via the Internet and the home network.
“Powers”, to be distributed in the USA via the Sony PlayStation Network to the PS4, is a bridge between a classic “police procedural” crime drama, a filme noir, and a fantasy movie. For people outside the US, TV broadcasters will be able to buy the rights to screen this show on their channels. Here, it is proving to TV producers, directors and consumers that a company who has their foot in the IPTV or video-on-demand space can commission original programming for these services rather than using them as distribution services for other people’s content.
This is similar to how cable evolved in the early 80s when the likes of HBO started producing their own content, running it on their own channels but also selling the rights for these shows to various broadcasters who wanted to run them. Similarly Canal+ have been building up a large collection of TV content that they run on their services but also are selling the rights for the content to free-to-air and pay-TV channels that run foreign-language content like SBS in Australia.
Sony are also capitalising on the fact that the PS4 games console, like its PS3 predecessor and the XBox competitors, is not just a games console but rather an “entertainment console” which is also about playing video content. For example, I have seen a young adult purposing a PS3 not just for playing games but to be used also as a Blu-Ray player. Here, Sony are running an IPTV service that will be delivered exclusively via the PS4 games console alongside the video-on-demand offerings provided through the PlayStation Network.
With Sony, Netflix, Hulu and other Internet-based TV providers, it could become an easy way in for TV producers and directors to put up content ideas or the content itself to these companies for commissioning. These stakeholders can also benefit from the ability to know whether these shows are being downloaded and what kind of viewers are downloading them so as to avoid turning out rubbishy content.