Fox Live-Streaming Primetime Programming11 Jul, 2016 By: Erik Gruenwedel
21st Century Fox’s cautious approach toward digital distribution turned the page in a major way July 11 with the announcement that Fox Broadcasting will be the first to live-stream primetime programming — excluding sports — over the Internet.
Programming is available via Fox.com or the Fox Now app on streaming media devices such as Roku, iOS and Android, Apple TV, Kindle Fire, Apple TV and Google Chromecast.
The live-stream is available in the local market of the authenticated viewer at the same time as the broadcast. Depending on retransmission rights, all primetime shows will be available for on-demand streaming after midnight (Pacific Time) the day after it airs.
Heretofore, Fox, unlike most broadcasters, only enabled on-demand access to select current TV shows eight days after initial airing. With the industry increasingly shortening the gap between live and on-demand in response to subscription streaming competitors such as Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime Video, Fox decided to eliminate barriers.
“From the start of the on-demand and over-the-top viewing revolution, Fox has been at the forefront of providing greater access to our buzz-defining shows, like 'Empire,' 'Lucifer,' 'Scream Queens' and 'Family Guy,'" Dana Walden and Gary Newman, chairmen and CEOs of Fox Television Group, said in a statement. “Adding nationwide primetime live streams is just another great example of how the Fox Digital Consumer Group … is innovating to give viewers the convenience and flexibility to watch our programming whenever and wherever they want.”
The move underscores Fox’s evolving distribution priorities under new CEO James Murdoch, who, along with brother Lachlan, is embracing digital — notably through Hulu and pending Hulu Live.
Murdoch said that while most video content will soon be consumed over IT networks, doing so would put content at the whim of on-demand consumers.
“We think this is a really good consumer experience. We think this is right thing to do to grow the audience in the streaming environment. This [digital] progress we are making puts us on strong footing,” he said on the company's May fiscal call.