NEW YORK Fox is looking to use the Internet to keep fans of its top shows engaged during its baseball-induced scheduling shuffle.
The network, in conjunction with Fox Interactive Media and Fox Television Stations Group, has launched Fox on Demand, a new platform on the News Corp.-owned MySpace to stream ad-supported, full-length episodes of a host of Fox's top prime-time shows.
Visitors to MySpace.com/fox, along with Fox's local owned-and-operated affiliate Web sites in 24 markets, can now stream previously run episodes of the shows Bones, Prison Break, Standoff, Vanished, Talk Show With Spike Feresten, 'Til Death, The Loop and Justice.
The idea behind the new platform, said Fox, is to allow these shows' fans to stay connected with their favorite programs during the baseball playoffs, which hijack much of the network's schedule during the month of October, while also allowing new fans the opportunity to catch up.
"We're fortunate to have partners like Fox Interactive Media and our Fox Stations Group making our entertainment programming available to viewers while we turn over much of prime time to Fox Sports and post-season baseball," said Fox entertainment president Peter Liguori in announcing the new Web strategy. "MySpace provides tremendous exposure to our key demos and our [local stations] speak to local viewers and loyal fans of Fox in a very targeted way."
The network plans to promote the new streaming option on-air throughout its baseball coverage.
Fox said that other shows would be added to Fox on Demand in coming weeks. Previously, Fox had been offering select episodes of series like Prison Break and Vanished on its Web site and 40 other partner venues, such as TVGuide.com and IGN.com. However, that arrangement, archival episodes of shows did not remain on the Web for very long, and not all programs had been ad supported.
With this move, Fox appears to be reacting to the changing marketplace, as CBS, NBC and ABC have each moved to stream significant portions of their prime-time lineups in just the past few weeks. Plus, the network is likely being driven by the opportunity for more ad revenue, as most industry observers report intense demand for ad inventory within premium online video content.