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Fox TV Delays Web Access, Heightens TV Exclusivity

Come August 15, Fox Network plans to begin delaying Web access to many of its popular TV shows to give certain cable and satellite TV providers greater exclusivity with its programming. Only subscribes to participating video distributors -- limited to Dish Network at the moment -- will be able to view TV shows online the day after shows air, while everyone else will have to wait 8 days to watch new episodes of "The Simpsons," "Bones," and "Glee."

"The limitations ... are a significant change to the online television system," writes The New York Times. "At least one of Hulu's other network partners, ABC, is contemplating setting a similar limit, according to people with knowledge of the discussions." "The move illustrates how programmers have increasingly embraced TV Everywhere type services as a way of bolstering their traditional business models," writes Broadcasting & Cable.

"The strategy, called ‘authentication' in the television industry, has been under discussion since at least last month," according to The Los Angeles Times. "It's part of the television industry's attempt to preserve its lucrative cable business model, through which they receive revenue from user subscriptions and advertisements, and discourage consumers from ‘cutting the cord' and only watching TV shows online."

"The authentication service is seen as a defensive move designed to preserve advertising rates and subscription levels in the face of mass defections to free Web-based video services," writes CNet. Indeed, Market researcher SNL Kagan reported last week that as many as 4.5 million U.S. households could choose to abandon their cable service this year. Adds CNet, "The move is also a big blow to online video service Hulu."

Indeed, "Fox could be harming Hulu if there is a large user revolt where customers start cancelling subscriptions or boycotting the service entirely," according to ReadWriteWeb. "The question for Fox is: what is more valuable, the extra eyeballs that see Hulu's premium advertisements or the subscription revenues of Hulu Plus?"

3 comments about "Fox TV Delays Web Access, Heightens TV Exclusivity".
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  1. Ruth Barrett from, July 27, 2011 at 12:40 p.m.

    Having already cut the cord, deep sixed the TV and glad to have it out of the house, I went to CNN yesterday and realized I had to sign in and give a password for a cable account to view the video. I'm not getting this. Everyone wants net neutrality, understanding the value of it, but where's the channel and peripheral neutral folks? Not in TV land. What a sorry state of affairs.

  2. Todd Koerner from e-merge Media, July 27, 2011 at 4:16 p.m.

    Is this a harbinger of things to come or the beginning of the end for a old technology? Is Fox mimicking the mistakes of the music business ten years ago?

  3. John Grono from GAP Research, August 17, 2011 at 9:38 a.m.

    ... or is it the businesses who invest millions creating these successful TV shows now adopting sensible business models to recoup those investments.

    I just don't get the model that says everything has to be online instantaneously AND free.

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