August 14, 2006
FOX Competing for Television/Video Downloads

The FOX Network is delving further into online distribution of its programming, based on a deal announced recently in which FOX will provide another competitor for Apple iTunes, Amazon's video service, AOL Video, and others.

FOX already has 24 and Prison Break available through iTunes but will now be offering its own distribution system as well.

The company will be debuting its FOX Interactive Media distribution platform soon, which will offer FOX television shows and films for download initially on Direct2Drive, a video game site, and then making them avaiable through MySpace.

For those who haven't followed it, MySpace is now owned by News Corporation, FOX's parent company, which explains why characters like The Carver from Nip/Tuck and Earl from My Name is Earl are most likely to be the first to engage in marketing their shows through MySpace (the former being an FX show and the latter being a FOX-produced program).

Shows will be offered within a day after they are initially broadcast on television and will include programming from across FOX networks. The episodes can be viewed on Microsoft's Windows Media Player.

As with individual episodes on iTunes, shows will cost $1.99, while movies will cost $19.99.

What will this mean for the iTunes format and other initial start-ups? Will more networks be likely to follow suit by launching their own download-for-pay sites for their content? WWE has long tried to market some of its products through pay-per-view online services through its own site, among many others. Will this end up being the preferred long-term model, or will companies like Amazon, AOL, and Apple continue to gain ground? Or will there be enough room in the market for all of these platforms to coexist?

There will be major long-term repercussions in the industry that depends on how this plays out.