“Fox television is taking a more cautious approach than rival networks in making its most popular TV shows available for new distribution outlets like video-on-demand and digital downloads, a top executive said on Tuesday,” Sue Zeidler reports for Reuters. “‘It’s been our strategy not to try to go out first with announcements but to go out with our best strategy. We’re taking a more measured approach to what works and would not work,’ Fox Entertainment President Peter Liguori said during a presentation to TV critics in Pasadena.”
“Walt Disney Co.’s ABC made a splash late last year when it began offering commercial-free Internet downloads of its biggest hits, ‘Lost’ and ‘Desperate Housewives,’ for $1.99 apiece from Apple Computer Inc.’s iTunes music store,” Zeidler reports. “NBC has since added some of its shows to iTunes’ television inventory.”
“‘There are so many different cable outlets, a really fertile Internet, the ability to get information on wireless,’ Liguori said. ”24′ is a great show for all those various options, but again, my job is to protect ’24,’ not to worry about what at this point is really a pretty meager audience’ for video on demand or video iPods,” Zeidler reports. “Asked whether he thought Disney jumped the gun on its deal with Apple’s iTunes, Liguori said he was ‘neutral on what they’ve done. I think it was a very sexy announcement. But is it necessarily helping the show at this point? I don’t know. None of us know at this stage. None of us know what those numbers are,’ he said.”
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Fox should read the news. NBC and ABC shows featured on Apple’s iTunes Music Store are showing marked broadcast ratings increases. Excellent shows that failed to catch on, like NBC’s “The Office” for example, are now top sellers on iTunes and have found an audience on NBC’s broadcasting network. The only thing Fox’s Liguori is “protecting” his shows from by not offering them on iTunes are broadcast ratings increases. Two words for Liquori: “Arrested Development.”
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NBC: Apple’s iTunes, iPod powering broadcast ratings for ‘The Office’ – January 17, 2006