Fox unveils new line of TV apps

American Express on board for t-commerce offering

Fox has launching a new fleet of apps across leading devices united under the brand extension Fox Now.

At launch, Fox Now will be available in two versions. One that will be available on Apple iPad and eventually on Android devices, will provide a second-screen content in real-time accompaniment to the network’s primetime series. The other, which has launched on Windows 8 and XBox, is devoted to full-episode streaming but only for viewers who can authenticate their pay-TV subscription.

In time, all Fox Now apps will consolidate streaming and second-screen functionalities across a broader range of devices and platforms, including Samsung Smart TVs later this year.

The Fox Now deployment puts an emphasis on putting the network forward as a focal point for the branding effort at a time when the TV-related app category continues to fragment, including series-specific apps and broader social-TV efforts including Zeebox and ConnecTV. “We’re clearly moving toward a world in which we need to have a network footprint on connected devices and we’re starting to get there,” said Hardie Tankersley, VP of platforms and innovation at Fox.

Fox plans to phase out some of the previous apps it has distributed for individual series but not for “The X Factor” and “American Idol,” which will continue with standalone apps.

The second-screen version of Fox Now will blend access to relevant Twitter commentary on the series with content extras like episode recaps. As part of the content mix, Fox has partnered with American Express to allow viewers to purchase select items seen on episodes of comedy “New Girl.”

The Fox deal represents the second deal in as many weeks for the credit-card giant for “t-commerce” with a TV partner. American Express will also be integrated with Zeebox, which counts Comcast as an investor, to sell content inspired by programs across NBCUniversal. The company first broached talks with NBC and Fox about the t-commerce arrangements in their upfront negotiations, according to Lou Paskalis, vice president of global media content development and mobile marketing at American Express, who said turning TV into a transactional hub won’t happen overnight.

“We’re infiltrating the culture with a new pathway,” he said. “It’s going to take a while to see adoption.”

Fox Now will also become another touchpoint for network ad sales, with T-Mobile and Mazda already on board as sponsors, which will alow for marketer content synchronized to commercials as they air on TV.