Fox Interactive Media to adapt 160 sites

NEW YORK — Fox Interactive Media, the group that manages MySpace.com and IGN Entertainment, will now be managing websites for 160 Fox-affiliated stations.

In a deal announced Wednesday, News Corp. said its Internet group would take over management of the local TV sites and adapt them to the MyFox platform and branding.

Deal does not include some of the biggest owners of Fox affiliates, including Sinclair Broadcast Group, which is still evaluating whether to outsource its Web operations.

Fox Interactive Media took over management of News Corp.’s 24 owned Fox affils in 2006 to handle streaming of Fox programming on the sites and to standardize their look and feel.

“It’s important for local affiliate stations to have a Web strategy and compelling online content, and we believe the MyFox platform is the best solution to help them deliver it,” said Joe Denk, chairman of the Fox affiliate board of governors.

Deal puts FIM in what’s becoming the competitive business of managing TV station websites. Internet Broadcasting, founded in 1998, manages station websites for Hearst Argyle Television, which owns 39% of the company, as well as for Post Newsweek Stations and McGraw Hill Broadcasting.

In May, Internet Broadcasting inked a deal with CNN to share video, traffic and advertising revenue.

Clear Channel’s Inergize Digital Media operates more than 55 local TV station websites and inked a deal in March to add nine stations, including several ABC and NBC affils, owned by Scripps Television Stations.

Fox’s deal expands on a previous agreement that allowed Fox affiliates to use FIM’s Fox on Demand streaming video service for Fox TV shows like “24,” “Hell’s Kitchen” and “Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?”

About 50 of the stations included in the new deal participated in the Fox on Demand service.

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