Fox Becomes First Network To Stream Primetime Shows On Local Sites

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Fox has launched Fox on Demand, a fascinating network first that makes a network’s stations actual distributors of streaming primetime content. As part of a trial phase that launched this week, viewers in the areas covered by nine owned-and-operated Fox stations — including LA, New York and D.C. — can watch free streaming episodes of “Prison BreaK” now, with four more shows on the way. Discussions are underway to bring the content to Fox affiliates and to craft a long-term deal for all Fox stations that reflects their status as distributors.
— The proprietary player was developed by Fox Interactive Media but works within IE and Firefox browsers. The content is geo-coded; the software can’t even be downloaded from outside a region where the player will work.
Rafat: Been testing it in LA: Works smoothly…after an ActiveX download on IE. Good picture quality (better/bigger window size than ABC.com’s streaming shows)…you can rewind, but not forward.
Update: From the business side: Toyota is the sole sponsor and for now only “Prison Break” includes ads — 10-second spots for the Yaris. Fox is experimenting with various options, including ad-free streaming.
— The affiliate deal last spring laid the groundwork but really covers giving the network permission to repurpose its primetime programming. The preceding deal limited re-use to avoid having Fox use its broadcat shows on its cable networks. In the first year, Fox can repurpose 60 percent of the primetime shows, shifting to 80 percent in the next two years and 100 percent for the three following years. That deal splits 12.5 percent of revenues from downloads across the stations. But, as mentioned above, Fox is working on a different deal with a higher revenue share that would reflect the stations’ status as distributors. For now, they have a simple, short-term revenue share deal with the Fox O&Os. The stations will be able to sell advertising against the shows but whether they would have local ad inserts in the video is another question.
— This doesn’t mean Fox has decided against streaming full shows nationally on Fox.com.
— Episodes are being staggered to encourage DVD sales of shows like “Prison Break” and to serve as promos for the new season.

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