NEW YORK– Fox Entertainment began offering primetime shows “Prison Break” and “Bones” on the web sites of nine local stations Friday, marking the first time local stations have streamed network programming in the web.
The new initiative, dubbed “Fox on Demand,” puts the network’s own spin on the video streaming trend by allowing local stations to stream network shows the day after they air on television.
The first stations to participate are some of the biggest Fox affiliates in New York, Los Angeles, Boston, Dallas, Washington, DC, Tampa Bay, Orlando, Birmingham and Greensboro.
Fox digital media president Peter Levinsohn called the initiative the “next logical step” following a digital media deal signed with its local affilates earlier this year.
“We look forward to extending ‘Fox on Demand’ offering to our entire affiliate body,” he said.
The free, ad-supported shows are sponsored by Toyota as part of a campaign for the youth-oriented Yaris subcompact.
Initially the service will offer select episodes of “Prison Break” and “Bones” including episodes from last season and new episodes the day after they appear on TV.
The service will also include older series from 20th Century Fox, “American Dad,” “The Loop,” and “Stacked.”
On Friday Washington, DC affiliate WTTG-TV’s MyFOX Web site had 10 episodes of “Prison Break,” 8 episodes of “Bones,” 7 episodes of “The Loop,” and 13 episodes of “Stacked.”
“Fox on Demand” coincides with a recent relaunch and rebranding of the Fox owned-and-operated stations under the MyFOX brand. Viewers will be asked to download a proprietary video player created by Fox Interactive Media.
As the rest of Fox’s 24 owned-and-operated stations get their digital makeovers, they, too will be offered the video player and the digital revue-sharing agreement worked out in March.
Fox’s digital on-demand initiatives comes as CBS announced that it will begin streaming the shows it owns outright, all three “CSI” skeins, “NCIS,” and “Numb3rs” on the web this fall.
Unlike the Eye, Fox said it sought permission form Hollywood’s creative guilds before making the move.
ABC streamed “Lost,” “Desperate Housewives,” “Alias,” and “Commander-in-Chief” on its Web site during a two-month experiment last spring and said it plans to re-launch the program with more shows this fall.
Fox execs said the decision to offer shows locally allows the advertising to better target local markets. It also gives stations a greater incentive to promote the network’s shows outside of primetime.
Toyota, the sole initial sponsor, will air 10-second, non-skippable ads tailored to each individual market.