Showtime Signs Up Roku, PlayStation for Online Streaming Service

CBS Corp. is adding partners for its Showtime TV service over the Internet, securing distribution via set-top box maker Roku Inc. and Sony Corp.’s PlayStation before its debut in early July.

Showtime announced the $10.99-a-month service Wednesday, joining the ranks of programmers letting viewers watch shows without signing up for conventional pay TV. The service will also be available initially on Apple Inc. products including the iPhone, iPad and Apple TV, New York-based CBS said that day in a statement.

The new deals announced Monday ensure that Showtime’s streaming service will debut with more partners than Time Warner Inc.’s HBO Now product. HBO forged an exclusive deal with Apple, and then added cable operator Cablevision Systems Corp. before HBO Now’s April debut. Last month, Google Inc. announced HBO Now will be accessible from Google’s Android devices.

Roku and Sony “have distinct and loyal audiences and together they will build on our services and greatly expand the number of homes that will have access to the Showtime service over the Internet,” Showtime Chief Executive Officer Matthew C. Blank said in a statement. “This is fundamental to Showtime’s strategy of putting the choice in the hands of the consumers regarding how, when and on what unique devices they watch our programming.”

A growing number of programmers, including HBO and Viacom Inc., sell streaming services directly to consumers, bypassing conventional pay-TV packages to attract new audiences. Some pay-TV distributors, such as Dish Network Corp., have begun to market multichannel online services as well.

Willing Partners

Many cable operators remain wary of these services, which could encourage more people to cancel their subscriptions and make do with online-only services such as Netflix Inc., Showtime and HBO Now. Yet media companies have found willing partners in Apple, Google, Roku and Sony, all of which offer alternatives to a traditional pay-TV package.

Consumers will be able to buy Showtime as a standalone service via their Roku and Apple devices, and add it for $10.99 to the PlayStation Vue cloud-based TV service. The service will become available in time for the season premieres of “Masters of Sex” and “Ray Donovan,” two of the network’s most popular shows.