FlopTV represents first online TV venture

ROME — Twentieth Century Fox has launched its first Internet TV service, using Italy as a testing ground.

Fox International Channels on Monday bowed Internet portal FlopTV, which is dedicated to Italian comedy and touted as Fox’s first foray into online TV.

Offering both original and purchased product, as well as user-generated content — all in the form of high-definition vids between two and 10 minutes long — FlopTV is being produced by FoxFactory, the new media unit of Fox Channels Italy.

Fox’s youth-skewed web channel kicked off with three new tailor-made Italo sitcoms, including a surreal “E.R” spoof titled “Drammi Medicali,” starring popular pop local singer/parodist Stefano Belisari, a.k.a. Elio. Fresh content will be uploaded weekly.

“We’re seeing a shift away from terrestrial TV, with younger audiences favoring thematic channels and the Internet,” commented FlopTV creative director Michele Ferrarese.

“Yet even within these new spaces the needs of younger viewers are still underserved,” he added.

The web TV service, to be found at http://www.floptv.tv, is accessible on PCs, vidgame consoles and mobile phones. It can be streamed or posted within user profiles on social networking websites like MySpace and Facebook.

Fox Italy has previously acted as a laboratory for Fox. Fox International Channels in 2005 first launched its Fox Crime branded channel on Rupert Murdoch’s Sky Italia paybox, before beaming it successfully across Europe and Asia. A Fox Italy spokeswoman said FlopTV is likely to pave the way for other similar Fox web TV portals in other countries.

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