Stations to offer new Fox on Demand player

Coming soon to a Fox affiliate Web site near you: streamed and downloadable episodes of “24,” “Bones” and other network shows.

In the most extensive network/affiliate new-media partnership yet, Fox stations will offer a brand new version of the Fox on Demand player that allows viewers to either stream shows online or purchase video downloads.

Announcement comes in the wake of an affiliate arrangement with Fox Broadcasting, Fox Interactive Media and 20th Century Fox.

Among other nets, ABC affils repping 80% of the country offer a player on their local sites that streams Alphabet net programming.

But Fox stations will become the first network affils among the Big Five to offer primetime skeins for download.

“The whole platform is a first in the industry,” said Ron Berryman, senior VP and general manager at Fox Interactive Media Stations Group. “This is a one-stop shop for consumers.”

The streaming-only version of Fox on Demand launched in October and had previously been offered on MySpace and via Fox’s owned-and-operated stations. The new downloading function will initially bypass MySpace and be available only on the Fox-owned outlets and affils.

“This agreement leverages the strengths of our studio and broadcast network programming and deepens our partnerships with both FIM and FBC’s station affiliates,” said Matthew Glotzer, Fox’s senior vice president of digital media.

Under the pact, affils and Fox will split ad inventory on streaming episodes, with 70% earmarked for the conglom and 30% of ad spots offered locally to affils.

Also, a revenue-sharing arrangement has been set up on the sell-through side.

“This is the next logical step in our partnership as the affiliate body and network move forward into the digital age,” said Fox affiliate board chairman Joe Denk, who serves as VP and general manager of KFXA in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. “We expect the affiliate body to look favorably on this important opportunity to better serve their communities’ emerging digital needs.”

Beyond TV series, Berryman said the Fox on Demand platform will eventually expand to include videogames, movies and local content. FIM’s Direct2Drive digital retail store will power the new commerce function for Fox on Demand.

Fox on Demand — which will be supported on Macs as well as PCs — also includes a metadata engine that will enable the net and affils to offer targeted ads within the player.

Also, visitors to Fox.com will be prompted to type in their ZIP code — shooting them to their local Fox affiliate Web site. Net execs believe the majority of Fox affils — at least 200 — will sign on to the Fox on Demand service. Fox Interactive has installed an extensive geofiltering program to make sure users are downloading programs from their own affiliate’s site and not one from another market.

As part of the deal, Fox Interactive is working with several network affiliates in rebranding their Web sites. For the first time, several Fox affils not owned by Fox will soon sport “MyFox” addresses and designs similar to the ones recently adopted by all of Fox’s owned-and-operated stations.

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