Fox to Sell Shows for Download Across Its Web Sites

Aug 14, 2006  •  Post A Comment

20th Century Fox will sell television shows such as “24” and movies such as “X-Men: The Last Stand” as downloads on Web sites across the Fox Interactive Media system, creating new competition for Apple Computer’s iTunes service.

The film and TV titles will initially be made available on the video game site Direct2drive.com, the company said Monday in a statement. The videos will then go for sale on MySpace.com, the social networking site owned by 20th Century Fox parent News Corp.

The project makes News Corp. one of the first media companies to sell its content for download on its own sites. ITunes pioneered the market for show downloads in October with a deal to sell ABC programs including “Lost.” Since then, the availability of video on the Internet has mushroomed, with established Web players taking the lead. AOL Video and Amazon plan to launch their own download stores this month.

Other networks have expressed interest in selling shows on their sites, but few have done so. ABC offered prime-time programs on an ad-supported basis on ABC.com in the spring and plans to again in the fall. Fox’s download store marks a new expansion in online delivery for media companies as they test consumers’ appetite for new ways of watching TV.

Fox Interactive Media will offer TV shows from Fox, 20th Century Fox, Fuel TV, Speed and FX within 24 hours after their broadcast. The Fox content can be transferred to portable media players that support Microsoft’s Windows Media format, potentially jump-starting that iTunes challenger.

Fox said the FIM network reaches 75 million unique users monthly. TV shows will cost $1.99 per episode and movies $19.99.

“24” and “Prison Break” are also available on iTunes.