Stations would use Decisionmark’s TitanCast software to limit reception of the Webcasts to homes within their over-the-air markets.
A handful of Fox affiliates are hoping to get permission soon from the network to stream top primetime shows over their local Web sites, according to affiliate sources.
The trial is meant to demonstrate the ability of affiliates to distribute Fox programming within their markets as streams and eventually as downloads.
Capitol Broadcasting WRAZ Raleigh, N.C., and Sinclair’s WBFF-TV Baltimore are among the affiliates in negotiations with Fox for the local Web rights.
The rights would clear the way for the stations to stream such shows as Prison Break and Bones the day after they air on Fox stations, with the network and the stations sharing ad revenue generated from the streams.
The stations would use Decisionmark’s TitanCast software to limit reception of the Webcasts to homes within their over-the-air markets.
“We’ve been talking with Fox and Decisionmark about the particulars and everything I’ve heard indicates that Fox is very receptive,” said Kevin Kolbe, manger of creative services for WRAZ.
The deal is being drawn up independently of Fox’s plan to stream top shows on nine of its owned-and-operated stations using a proprietary video player on the stations’ newly revamped Fox on Demand Web site.
But affiliate sources say that affiliates and the network are also talking about developing a common Web platform—a national portal with affiliates providing local content and access.
In effect, Fox and the affiliate would duplicate on the Web what they now have in broadcasting.
TitanCast’s selling point to the network and to content producers is its ability to audit and authorize for download only those viewers that live in a given station’s DMA. In streaming network shows on its O&Os, Fox is taking care to limit distribution to the DMA using other technology.
Decisionmark has been testing the technology with Capitol’s CBS affiliate in Raleigh, WRAL, since February, but negotiations with the network for rights to stream CBS primetime shows have stalled.
Stations are eager to begin working on the logistics of the streaming effort, which may or may not be managed centrally from Descionmark servers.
“This is more than just an opportunity to drive traffic to the Web site,” said Kolpe. “It gives our viewers a specific reason to go and go often.”
Fox spokespersons declined to comment on the talks with Sinclair and Capitol.