Fox Unveils Streaming Plan to Affiliates

The Fox TV Network unveiled a TV everywhere plan to its affiliates Tuesday that will allow them to stream network content, in addition to their local content, through a dedicated Fox app and on the Web.


The Fox TV Network unveiled a plan to its affiliates Tuesday that will allow them to stream network content, in addition to their local content, through a dedicated Fox mobile app and on the Web.

The TV everywhere plan, which is expected to launch this fall, has been in the works for about a year and affiliates started learning about it six months ago.

Similar to Disney’s Watch ESPN  strategy, paid TV subscribers would be able to access local and network content through a an app and on the Web. Once authenticated, users could watch a live, linear stream or individual video-on-demand programming.

The app would use a mobile device’s built-in GPS to restrict local access to that market, says Steve Pruett, chairman of the Fox affiliates board. For example, a user in El Paso, Texas, would be able to receive KFOX local content. If that user opened the app in Denver, however, it would pick up the market location and stream KDVR, that market’s local Fox affiliate.

“We want to make sure our content is on every device, either through the Fox national app, on the Fox Sports Go app or something similar with our entertainment content,” says Michael Hopkins, Fox Networks president of distribution. “If consumers are going to go to a local station site or app, we want our content to be there.”

The service would be offered by cable and satellite operators, who pays stations for the TV everywhere rights. Under a TV everywhere plan, the affiliates would presumedly pay Fox for the rights to network content. Hopkins declined to comment on any contractual agreements between the network and affiliates. “I think, by and large, everyone will be onboard by the fall.”


Additionally, Fox plans to update its Fox Sports app to include streaming of its national sports coverage, in addition to regional coverage. For example, users in Michigan would be able to watch live Detroit Pistons games from Fox Sports Detroit.

The plan also allows for additional, local advertising opportunities for the affiliates.

Erik Moreno, Fox Networks Group SVP corporation development, briefly spoke on Fox’s plan in a session at the NAB Show Tuesday. “We completely understand, as Fox, that being able to get our content — our live simulcast — to the consumers, in partnership with the affiliates, is absolutely a great idea.” Moreno, who is also the CEO of Dyle, one of two consortiums aiming to make mobile DTV successful, declined to comment further on Fox’s plan.

Fox isn’t the only network looking into different ways to get its content out to mobile devices. Hopkins says that includes dynamic ad insertion. “They could put in their linear ads today, or sell different ads.” Broadcasters could charge more for adds that also appear in the app, or sell ads that only run on the mobile app.

TVNewsCheck broke news about ABC’s similar streaming plan in February. ABC affiliates could be restricted to their over-the-air markets by ABC’s technology, but they would be able to put their own branding on their local service. The plan received some scrutiny in an ABC affiliate board meeting in Las Vegas on Monday.

CBS is also working with app-maker Syncbak to let its owned stations and affiliates stream content, while restricting reception to mobile devices within the stations’ markets.

The streaming announcement comes a day after News Corps. COO Chase Carey threatened to move the Fox broadcast network to cable if broadcasters lose their legal battle against Aereo, a service that takes over-the-air signals for free and streams them to users who pay $12 a month.

Steve Pruett, chairman of the Fox affiliates board, said affiliate members were excited about the news. “The affiliate body is favorably impressed in what they’re doing and excited about it and embracing it,” he says. “From the board of governors level, we all think they have made a very strong effort to create a way for us to be where our viewers need to be with our Fox content.”

Comments (6)

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Ellen Samrock says:

April 10, 2013 at 12:53 am

Fox sees the handwriting on the wall and is responding accordingly.

Chuck Zimmerman says:

April 10, 2013 at 9:55 am

Looks like Fox is actually leading the way on this one…

Brian Bussey says:

April 10, 2013 at 9:57 am

Broadcast tv is, was, and always will be bullet proof. Wireless carriers cannot improve on the perfect distribution model, free to the viewer. All they can do is attempt to reroute local network broadcasts through their devices and attempt to charge for a new level of “access or convenience”. Most of America does not move on public transportation to and from work so the concept of mobile tv (which is far from new) is just not, and never will be, that big a deal. I have a 7 inch battery powered, digitally tuned LCD TV, sitting on my desk, that I bought at CVS for 100 bucks. I have actually had to explain that our digital signal is still over the air.. to my own sales managers. There seems to be a never ending stream of people who think they can wedge into both distribution and “time spent viewing”. I always chuckle when I hear people compare the vast content of the web to the “boob tube” yet none of them “including Bill Gates” wants to address the problem that “Facts and Truth” are of no interest the web or even cable content providers. I have tried to access sprint TV while sitting in infamous Houston traffic and it is at best a crap shoot. As long as local affiliate broadcasters are not stabbed in the back by their networks, this technology will be nothing more than another 2 to 4% on DMA “out of home” viewing.

Brian Bussey says:

April 10, 2013 at 10:05 am

What really concerns me is this lunacy by the broadcast networks that they can grab $3.50 a subscriber by becoming “cable only”. Even if that did occur, I would still bet on local broadcast because, as the American labor class is destroyed by global economics, millions and millions of Americans will not be able to rationalize $6600. Per year (my current wire-wireless expenditure) to “stay connected, in touch and on top, of what’s going on..

Jennifer Dahl says:

April 10, 2013 at 1:21 pm

I think part of the problem is that Fox is getting tired of local affiliates causing retrans agreement issues. These squabbles have left customers with blackouts or threats of blackouts. Fox has recently told its affiliates “we’ll do the negotiating for you or you will no longer be an affiliate”. Stations unwilling to play ball with Fox have been dropped. In the near future I see content being offered to whomever agrees to pay for it –be it cable, satellte, or local TV stations– with the “affiliate model” becoming a thing of the past. OTA broadcast still has a place its importance and influence is diminishing with each day.

Mike Anderson says:

April 23, 2013 at 10:11 am

PBS watcher must not be an owner of a FOX station. fox DOES NOT WANT TO NOR WILL IT AGREE TO BE part of any negotiation. I know, I’m an owner

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