Fox Offers Ad-Free Show Downloads On iTunes

Looking to juice up its fall season--and that of the Apple iTunes Music Service--Fox announced that it will, for the first time, offer ad-free downloads of series premieres beginning this week.

Such a move signals a shift in philosophy for iTunes--perhaps because of some pressure from Fox executives. The Apple online music service has steadfastly maintained that its customers like the simplicity of paying $1.99 for all video downloads and $0.99 cents for music downloads.

It comes after NBC--iTunes' biggest video-content provider--and iTunes decided to end their video distribution agreement. NBC wanted iTunes to be more flexible in the pricing and packaging of TV shows.

Recently, Peter Chernin, president/COO of News Corp., Fox's parent, suggested that it, too, would like to see some pricing and packaging flexibility. But unlike NBC, News Corp. wasn't going to abandon iTunes.

"Right now we have a perfectly good relationship with Apple," Chernin has said. "But let me say this: We're the ones who should determine what the fair price for our product is, not Apple."



Fox will debut new shows and offer season premieres of returning shows, including new shows "Back To You," K-Ville" and "Kitchen Nightmares" and returning shows "Prison Break," "Bones," "American Dad" and "'Til Death."

The strategy may make Fox more appealing to consumers. Analysts have said NBC appeared greedy to their consumers, in the wake of its public disagreement with Apple.

Reports suggested that NBC wanted to raise the price to $4.99 for some of its popular downloaded shows. NBC said the problem didn't have to do with the retail price charged to consumers--just the wholesale price NBC was getting from Apple.

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