Amid negotiations with video distributors, Fox Broadcasting said it plans to prevent consumers from watching the latest episodes of its popular shows in August, according to media reports.
Before the fall TV season starts, Fox will force consumers to wait more than a week to catch up on shows such as “House” or “The Simpsons” on Fox.com and streaming service Hulu (News - Alert), the Wall Street Journal reported.
As of Aug. 15, new episodes of Fox shows will not be available until eight days after they debut. The eight-day “exclusivity window” means that only subscribers of Hulu Plus and Dish Network will be able to see the most recent episode 24 hours after it airs on Fox.
According to the Journal, Hulu and Dish are the only participants in Fox’s new “authentication plan.” Meanwhile, Fox is keeping quiet on its current negotiations with other video distributors.
Fox executives are reportedly “in talks with other pay-TV distributors to include access to new episodes as part of their standard TV subscriptions, and hope to sign up more before the new TV season begins in the fall,” the Journal said.
More consumers are tuning into their favorite TV shows via Web video and streaming services like Netflix.
Researcher SNL Kagan recently estimated that 4.5 million U.S. households will rely on Web video and streaming services such as Netflix Inc. instead of traditional cable or satellite subscriptions by the end of 2011, up from 2.5 million at the end of 2010.
Mike Hopkins, Fox’s president of affiliate sales, told the Journal that making content free over the Web without a pay-TV subscription threatens broadcasters like Fox.
“The more you enable it by putting content out there for free without any tether to a pay-TV subscription, the bigger that danger becomes,” Hopkins said.
Dish Network currently has 14 million subscribers, while Hulu has about 2 million Hulu Plus subscribers.
In related news, TechZone recently reported that Apple (News - Alert) could soon be bidding on video-streaming company Hulu, but it’s still too early to determine how serious Apple executives are about the $2 billion potential acquisition.
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Erin Harrison is Executive Editor, Strategic Initiatives, for TMC, where she oversees the company's strategic editorial initiatives, including the launch of several new print and online initiatives. She plays an active role in the print publications and TMCnet, covering IP communications, information technology and other related topics. To read more of Erin's articles, please visit her columnist page.
Edited by Jennifer Russell