RealTime IT News

Movies, TV For Download Through Fox

Fox Interactive Media (FIM) and Twentieth Century Fox today inked a multi-year deal to offer consumers movies and television shows to download from sites on MySpace.com and other sites on the FIM network.

Financial terms were not made public about the deal, which is the latest play for media companies and film studios to make money from the Internet.

Customers who purchase movies and television shows will be able to transfer the content to handheld devices compatible with Windows Media.

Such portability signifies the removal of a major stumbling block in the industry regarding providing content over the Web; content providers had been loathe to allow consumers to transfer content from PCs to other players for fear that their material would be pirated.

Yet consumers don't want to be stuck watching movies or TV shows on their computers -- they want to be able to take them on the go.

Digital rights management (DRM) software has made portability without the threat of piracy a reality.

In this Fox deal, IGN Entertainment will be the first FIM property to offer new releases, made-for-TV movies and direct-to-video releases from Twentieth Century Fox on its Direct2Drive site in October 2006.

Direct2Drive employs a secure digital download service to allow users to transfer content to up to two PCs and one portable device per PC.

The FIM network, accessed by more than 75 million people a month in the U.S., will charge consumers $19.99 for new feature film releases, such as "X-Men The Last Stand," and $1.99 per TV series episode, which could include Fox's popular "24."

The site will also offer current television series from Twentieth Century Fox, Fox Broadcasting Company, Fuel TV, Speed and FX, within 24 hours of initial broadcast.

Additional FIM properties, such as MySpace.com, will offer content later.

Content providers have been working on trying to push content to consumers over the Web for the last five or six years. The technology to do it has been there, but the safeguards haven't been in place until recently.

With the security of media-delivery software improving and consumers broadening the bandwidth pipe into their homes, networks like Fox and movie studios are hoping to capitalize on this multi-million-dollar e-commerce prospect.

"Today marks an important step as we continue to build a bridge between the worlds of user-generated and top-quality, professional content, further enhancing our range of consumer offerings across both free, ad-supported and paid download business models," said FIM President Ross Levinsohn.

Fox's new portable download play is a first for a network, but hardly new for online businesses.

Apple's iTunes Music Store sells many television shows from Fox for $1.99 apiece. Those can only be played Apple's iPod devices or through its iTunes software on a computer.

Last month, Internet movie service provider Movielink said it had licensed software from Sonic Solutions to offer consumers a legal way to pay for movies they download from the Internet and burn them onto blank DVDs.

Two days later, Movielink rival CinemaNow became the first company to allow movies piped over the Internet to be securely burned onto a DVD.