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Microsoft Signs Xbox 360 Content Deal With News Corp.

10 Jan, 2012 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Fox News and related primetime TV programming coming to authenticated Xbox Live members

Microsoft Jan. 9 said it signed a content license agreement with News Corp. for a series of apps enabling Xbox Live members to stream programming from Fox Broadcasting Co., Fox News, IGN Entertainment and The Wall Street Journal to their TV via the game system.

Fox TV programs available to stream include “Glee,” “House,” “Bones,” “Fringe,” “New Girl” and “Family Guy,” among others. It wasn't immediately clear how long Xbox Live members would have to wait to watch new episodes. Fox currently imposes an eight-day delay on episodic programming released to digital platforms.

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer reiterated the deal during an evening keynote address prior to the start of the International Consumer Electronics Show, which runs through Jan. 12 in Las Vegas. This is Microsoft’s final year attending CES, the software giant announced earlier this year.

Video content from the Fox News Channel and related Fox apps will be available to authenticated subscribers of participating Fox cable and satellite television distributors. News Corp. expects to announce authentication agreements to support the apps in the near future. All the News Corp. apps will be available to Xbox Live Gold members and are slated to launch this year.

The deal is noteworthy in that News Corp. COO Chase Carey has been adamant that Fox properties receive adequate compensation from digital distributors that exceed the “$1-per-day mindset,” he said in a recent financial presentation.

The executive was referring to rental kiosks and subscription video-on-demand platforms transforming in the mind of consumers the belief that entertainment should be a low-priced ubiquitous commodity. 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment is one of three major studios that embargoes new-release movies by 28 days to kiosks and Netflix.

With tens of millions of members paying for access, Xbox Live provides Fox with the potential for incremental — not cannibalistic — revenue for its content.

“As we continue to find new ways to deliver content to consumers, this partnership with Xbox Live enables our viewers to experience News Corp.’s leading media brands in an entirely new and innovative environment,” Jon Miller, chief digital officer with News Corp., said in a statement.

Separately, Microsoft was named “TV Innovator of the Year” by IMS Research for upgrades to the Xbox 360, including content partnerships with more than 40 new TV and entertainment providers.

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