FIM Expands Downloads To Include Movies, More News Corp. Shows; Using IGN’s Direct2Drive

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Late last year, 20th Century Fox and Fox Interactive Media announced a deal to deliver movies via IGN Entertainment’s Direct2Drive service during 2006; Fox Digital Media manages the rights, licensing and negotiations for the studio. (That distribution service is one of the aspects that made IGN an attractive acquisition for FIM.) Now it looks like the News Corp. siblings will meet that deadline with a couple of months to spare. This October, “X-Men: The Last Stand,” “Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties,” “The Omen” and “Thank You for Smoking” will be sold for download across FIM’s properties, including MySpace.com, as they are released on DVD. The movies will sell for about $20. At the same time, the sites will be able to sell “24” and “Prison Break” (Fox) and “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” (FX) 24 hours after original episodes air. Those will sell for $1.99, as FIM president Ross Levinson suggested was probable last December.
— In some respects, this is a bigger deal for FIM than for the studio or Fox Digital Media, which have already done download-to-own deals. It moves FIM one step closer to mining the promise of its network of properties.
— Expect more download-to-own and streaming deals from Fox Digital, which has a non-exclusive strategy and is making deals as content can be cleared.
AP: “The movies and TV shows from Twentieth Century Fox will carry copy protection, limiting playback to two Windows computers, each supporting one portable device. Sales will be limited to the United States.”
FT: “Through its acquisition of MySpace and other properties, News Corp controls a large online audience. It is now working to develop this into a distribution platform for its content, as well as an advertising platform. Last week, the group agreed to partner with Google for search and other online advertising initiatives.”
Update: FIM claims the download to Windows Media devices are an industry first. The downloads will be available on the Direct2Drive site first, then on MySpace.com and others. The Windows portable downloads are exclusive to FIM — for now; don’t be surprised to see them crop up on other retail stores, particularly the retail option for Microsoft’s Zune.
— The multi-year deal includes new releases, made-for-TV movies, direct-to-video releases and selections from the Twentieth Century Fox film library as well as TV series from across Fox studios and networks.
Related: @ Media Week: More From Ross Levinsohn, President, FIM

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