Intel Corp. is reportedly making progress in negotiations with leading TV content creators over getting TV shows and films for its pay TV service due later this year. The world’s largest chipmaker has talked to Time Warner, NBC Universal and Viacom, which should be enough for a launch of the service and then continue talks with other content providers.
Intel is negotiating financial terms with the companies, according sources of Bloomberg news-agency. The media companies have signed off on the broad outlines of the proposed service, with some aspects still to be settled. Other network owners are not as far along, but after the service is launched and starts to gain customers, they will likely jump onboard as well. The chipmaker is about to begin financial consultations with News Corp., owner of the Fox film and TV businesses, whereas talks with Walt Disney Co. and CBS Corp. are at an initial stage.
“Not just Time Warner, but all of us have to look at these new distribution methods and whether they’re viable. No one has come along with that yet, and we’d look at it,” said Jeff Bewkes, chief executive officer of Time Warner, at an investor’s conference earlier this month.
Intel did not comment on the ongoing negotiations.
The base of Intel’s smart Internet TV service will be a set-top-box powered by a specially-designed Intel system-on-chip that will be equipped with a camera to recognize the users and provide them relevant programs or services. The STB will provide live television, a collection of programs and TV-shows aired in the past, video rental service as well as other services. All-in-all, Intel wants to create an all-in-one solution that will provide convenience, but will not necessarily offer ways to cut-down TV bills. The new STB and service will not carry Intel brand-name.
At first glance, Intel’s TV service is nothing special as it will not introduce anything that will clearly differentiate it from the established market players. Quite naturally, the virtual TV operator will also not offer exclusive programs or TV-shows, something that Microsoft Corp. plans to unveil for its Xbox Live TV service in future. However, a major advantage of the Intel’s smart TV service will be its compatibility with mobile devices.
Intel's new Internet-based TV service also will be available on mobile devices, but it is unclear which will be the first.
"I absolutely and completely believe in the world of multiplatform ... anytime, anyplace, anywhere. Consumers and audiences expect that nowadays. Yes, we will make services available on other sockets, on other devices, and on other products just like at the BBC. But to get from nothing to 650 devices at the BBC literally took four years. That doesn't happen overnight, but yeah, you bet, that's completely part of the strategy," said Erik Huggers, vice president and general manager of Intel Media, who previously worked at BBC.