updated 02:50 pm EST, Wed January 18, 2006
Fox cautious about iTunes
Fox television is being cautious with its move to the digital distribution age. The company told Reuters that it is taking a more cautious approach than rival networks in making its most popular TV shows available for new distribution outlets, such as iTunes: "It's been our strategy not to try to go out first with announcements but to go out with our best strategy. We're taking a more measured approach to what works and would not work," Fox Entertainment President Peter Liguori said during a presentation to TV critics in Pasadena. Earlier this week, both NBC and ABC agreed that making digital episodes available via iTunes had helped boost TV ratings, despite caution offered by some analysts.
Unlike rival networks such as ABC and NBC-- who have aggressively partnered with iTunes- Fox believes that new digital distribution networks are in the early stages of maturity. However, the company is exploring the online market under the aegis of its own corporate parent, such as Myspace.com, a social networking Web site that is popular with young people. The report says the marketing efforts have been helpful in promoting shows.
"In terms of new technologies, it's so early and in the nascent stages of what we can do with this," he said. "We think of this as a quintessential marathon and not a sprint."
CBS has also moved aggressively into the digital world, partnering for fee-based video-on-demand episodes with both Comcast and DirecTV as well as offering some of its sitcoms via Yahoo!'s video service and news and radio content via podcasts. Reports have also circulated on possible discussions wih Apple to offer its content via iTunes.
According to the report, Fox had begun experimenting with new distribution platforms when its sister cable network FX announced a deal to let DirecTV subscribers download episodes of "The Shield" and "Rescue Me" for $2.99 two days before their initial run on FX.