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Fox Delays Free Access to TV Programs Online

27 Jul, 2011 By: Erik Gruenwedel

New initiative implements eight-day window for Fox programs appearing on free ad-supported streaming websites, including Hulu

Fox Networks and Fox Broadcasting Co. have implemented a new policy that delays repurposed streaming of its TV shows on third-party websites without online authentication.

Beginning Aug. 15, to watch new episodes of Fox shows the next day online, including “Glee,” “Bones,” “Family Guy” and “The Simpsons,” viewers must log in with their subscriber usernames and passwords. Viewers who do not subscribe to a participating cable or satellite TV operator only will be able to watch new episodes online eight days following their initial air dates.

Dish Network Corp. is the first multivideo distributor to offer the service to its 14.2 million subscribers via dishonline.com. Other access sites include Fox.com, Hulu.com and related third parties.

The move comes as networks and media companies attempt to sustain traditional revenue channels such as syndication, pay TV and TV DVD through so-called “TV Everywhere” platforms — all of which have been notably undermined by the success of ad-supported Hulu.

Hulu, which is co-owned by Fox parent News Corp., The Walt Disney Co. and NBC Universal, launched subscription-based Hulu Plus in an effort to assuage it media parents, with apparent little success. The service now is up for sale.

“We are continually looking at opportunities to provide our pay-television distributors with content and products that enhance the value of pay television to subscribers,” said Michael Hopkins, president of affiliate sales and marketing with Fox Networks. “Our new authentication service will continue to provide next-day access to Fox broadcast shows for our viewers who subscribe to participating pay television providers.”

The new-release window could spark an increase in illegal file sharing of Fox programs, said Arash Amel, digital media research director with IHS Screen Digest.

“This move is likely to fuel an illegal market for Fox shows because not everybody will necessarily have access to authenticated services,” Amel told the Los Angeles Times.

Fox authentication only effects online viewing. All other television viewing options remain unchanged. For more information about this service, visit www.fox.com/watchnewepisodes.


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