With many analysts predicting that the networks that now use cable TV for distribution will one day use the Internet instead, Sony, which is seeking to become an online gateway for those networks, appeared to take the lead by negotiating a preliminary deal with Viacom to distribute its wide-ranging channels via the Internet. According to the Wall Street Journal, which cited people familiar with the matter, it is the biggest content deal so far among companies such as Google and Intel seeking to create an online pay-TV service to rival cable operators'. According to the Journal, Sony's negotiations with content owners is being led by executives in its electronics division, not by those in its entertainment division. According to The New York Times, Sony plans to start selling the Internet service in the fourth quarter of this year or the first quarter of next year.