Missed the last episode of Bones or Prison Break? Very soon, there will be no need to try and catch a replay on television – you’ll be able to hit your favorite MySpace page or website to catch the full episode right from your computer screen.
News Corp., the owner of the social networking site MySpace, is combining some services with its sister-company FOX to let websites of two dozen Fox TV stations and MySpace.com pages offer full episodes of its television shows after they’ve aired. This new service, Fox On Demand, will be ad-supported and is one of the latest developments in television network races to offer shows in more places. Various networks are now playing on Apple Computer Inc.’s iTunes service – an attempt to grab more viewers whose time is shared between computers, cell phones, and television screens.
In August, News Corp.’s 20th Century Fox film studios agreed to sell movies on MySpace – but until now, they haven’t supported the posting of their television episodes.
“Leveraging this unique opportunity with our sister company FOX enables us to experiment and innovate and deliver some of the most compelling video experiences online to consumers,” Ross Levinsohn, Fox Interactive Media president, said in a statement.
What will be online for your viewing pleasure? So far, Fox has announced that programming will be available including the shows Bones, Prison Break, Standoff, Vanished, Talk Show with Spike Feresten, Til Death, The Loop, and Justice. Throughout October and November, while Fox On Demand is being finalized, look for other shows to join the list.
Besides the obvious publicity of making this move, Fox has some serious marketing reasons for offering their shows online. Their original primetime programming is a big viewer draw, but when they begin airing Major League Baseball playoffs and the World Series, the primetime programming takes a backseat to the MLB broadcasts. So they’ve devised a compromise: viewers’ broadcast schedules get disrupted, so they can catch their favorite shows in other places if they don’t want to watch baseball. On-air promotions will be running during MLB coverage to inform viewers of the new service.
“Offering free access to FOX programming online during the MLB primetime take-over demonstrates the tremendous value that may be realized through a smart digital distribution strategy for premium content,” said Peter Levinsohn, Fox Entertainment Group’s President of Digital Media. “The FIM network of sites and particularly MySpace, combined with our local television sites, provide the optimal platform for maintaining momentum with our existing audience and also attracting new viewers.”
And they’re not jumping in without getting their feet wet. In late August, Fox put episodes of a select few prime-time series on the websites of nine different Fox affiliate stations. Since that went so well, they’ve upped the number of affilate sites to 24 and are also making the service available to the millions of MySpace members online.
At launch time, Fox On Demand will be sponsored by big names like Toyota Motors, Burger King, and Lionsgate Entertainment Corporation.
Want to get all ready to tweek your own MySpace page with the coolness of Fox shows? More information and codes are available at www.myspace.com/Fox.