Fox affiliates to stream network shows

By Cory Bergman 

Updated: In an aggressive expansion of Fox’s existing owned-and-operated streaming initiative, more than 200 Fox affiliate websites will soon offer network programming, both as free streams and paid downloads. Under the new revenue-sharing deal that includes 20th Century Fox, the affiliates will be able to sell 30 percent of the streaming ad inventory. Video downloads — which include 24, Bones, and Prison Break — will sell for $1.99 an episode. Visitors to Fox.com will have the option to enter their zip code and be directed to their local Fox affiliate site for the video. “This is the next logical step in our partnership as the affiliate body and network move forward into the digital age,” said Joe Denk, VP and GM of KFXA-TV in Cedar Rapids and Chairman of the FOX affiliate board. Fox says it plans to begin rolling out the players by the end of March and to finish within three months. Press release with more details below…

PRESS RELEASE — Fox Broadcasting Company (FOX), Fox Interactive Media (FIM) and Twentieth Century Fox Film Corp. today unveiled a landmark plan to extend FOX television programming to its affiliate Web sites, enabling more than 200 broadcast network affiliates to offer their local viewers the ability to watch or buy FOX’s critically acclaimed shows, including “24,” “Bones,” “Prison Break” and more.

Under the terms of the deal struck with the FOX affiliate Board of Governors, Fox Broadcasting Company, Fox Interactive Media, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corp. and the local affiliates will share both transactional and advertising revenues.

“This is the next logical step in our partnership as the affiliate body and network move forward into the digital age,” said Joe Denk, Vice President and General Manager of KFXA-TV in Cedar Rapids, IA, and Chairman of the FOX affiliate board. “We expect the affiliate body to look favorably on this important opportunity to better serve their communities’ emerging digital needs.”

“Fox Interactive Media is thrilled to enable FOX affiliates to build meaningful, localized video distribution businesses online and offer their audiences the highest quality viewing experience,” said Ron Berryman, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Fox Interactive Media Stations Group. “We’re seeing great traction with ‘FOX on Demand’ on MySpace on a national level and in the initial local offerings on the owned-and-operated station sites, and look forward to working closely with the affiliates as we continue to break new ground in digital distribution.”

Matthew Glotzer, Fox’s Senior Vice President of Digital Media, added, “This agreement leverages the strengths of our studio and broadcast network programming and deepens our partnerships with both FIM and FBC’s station affiliates. We have created the first market-wide, localized, broadband video offering that includes both ad-supported and sell-through business models, affording consumers unprecedented choice.”

Programming will be delivered via “FOX on Demand,” the company’s leading video distribution platform. To date, “FOX on Demand” has offered an ad-supported, streaming-only platform; now, it will enable visitors to purchase television shows for play on the go on a computer or portable device. “FOX on Demand’s” new commerce functionality is powered by FIM’s Direct2Drive (http://www.direct2drive.com) digital retail store, which also offers top-selling video games, blockbuster movies, anime and more.

Since launching in October, “FOX on Demand” has streamed free, full episodes of hit FOX shows such as “24,” “Prison Break” and “Bones” on MySpace (http://myspace.com/fox) and on 24 of FOX’s owned-and-operated MyFOX local Web sites. “FOX on Demand” is expected to be available on more than 200 FOX affiliate station Web sites throughout the U.S. in the coming year. Visitors to FOX.com (http://www.fox.com) will have the option to enter their zip code and be directed to the FOX local affiliate “FOX on Demand” video hub for viewing.

The lineup of shows currently available on “FOX on Demand” includes “24,” “Bones,” “Prison Break,” “Standoff,” “Vanished,” “Talkshow With Spike Feresten,” “’Til Death,” “The Loop,” “War at Home,” “American Dad” and “The Winner” debuting this weekend with continuous updates and exclusive premieres. New episodes will be available to watch and stream in high quality video or buy and download the night after they air on TV. Shows are sold at a variety of price points as individual episodes or as part of season packages.

Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation is a unit of Fox Filmed Entertainment, a unit of Fox Entertainment Group, Inc.

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