Fox sells ‘American Idol’ clips for Windows-only download; bypasses Apple’s iTunes

“The most popular show in America will take a big digital leap tonight when ‘American Idol’ announces that it will begin selling downloads of performances from the Tuesday episodes,” Steve Zeitchik reports for Variety.

“As previously reported (Daily Variety, May 2), downloads will be sold on and will be available — though, notably, not via iTunes,” Zeitchik reports. “Video downloads will sell for $1.99, while audio downloads will go for 99¢. The entire episode will not be available… The deal, which is handled at the net by Fox digital division FIM, will see coin shared between that unit and producers Fremantle and 19 Entertainment.”

Full article here.

According to the online support page: “You will need Windows Operating System and Windows Media Player 9.0 or better in order to activate and play your files.”

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “JB” for the heads up.]

[UPDATE: 1:52am EDT: Added Windows-only info to headline and report.]

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Related article:
Apple adds hit programs from Fox, FX, Speed, Fuel & 20th Century Fox to iTunes Music Store – May 09, 2006


  1. Good show. Too bad Fox wants to try doing this on their own. It may not turn out to be as big of a seller as they had hoped, in part because people are going to have to set up accounts, I would expect, just to pay these small fees for the show clips.

    Plenty of people have accounts on iTMS already, and just making that one last click to buy the song/video is much easier than having to set up another account, remember passwords and usernames, etc.

    They do have a lot of traffic at that site, along with pretty strong forums. And they’ve been giving video clips away for a while now. It will be interesting to see the results of this short experiment on the part of Fox.

    Let’s hope next season is on iTMS.

  2. drmacnut makes a good point about customers not wanting to set up yet another account. More importantly, are these files going to be DRM’d? If so, what’s the file format and how will they play? I smell Windows-only.

  3. The beginning of a trend, watch & see. Apple’s strong-arming of the labels on pricing is not something that went unnoticed with other content providers. Between that and not licensing its DRM to anyone, they will not be a top presence, long term.

  4. The auditions are the only worthwhile part of that. Once the ‘successful’ applicants started their performances it really is dreary ‘seen, heard and rejected the tosh T- shirt’ stuff, followed by a techni color yawn when the shear ugliness of the contestants visual and audible attempts mauls your brain.

    While I’m on the subject of bad TV whats with this awful Martha Stewart Apprentice crap. Now if it had all been shot in prison with inmates trying for a new life… where’s me iPhone when you need it.

  5. ‘No surprise’ has a point though they seem perfectly capable of accepting total subordination to Microsoft when it cracks them on the knuckles. Fox in particular is a black belt in the art of brown nosing Mr Gates, Balmer et al. Its a question of getting and retaining that dominant position and the recent additions to iTunes look like plenty are willing to jump on that particular jumbo sized band wagon, so don’t count on too many chickens surviving the journey.

  6. “Between that and not licensing its DRM to anyone, they will not be a top presence, long term.”

    Yup, because it’s not like there are millions of iPods out there that people want to watch their shows on. They’re just comparing the sales of their number one show to their other shows and if the iTunes shows do big biz compared to their own site, you’ll eventually see them there.

    If anything CAN take down iTunes though, it’ll be Microsoft paying companies to produce Windows only content… can you even play these without a computer?

    MDN Magic Word – public
    The huge iPod public will be downloading the ENTIRE show files from bittorrent anyway ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”smile” style=”border:0;” />

  7. I don’t watch it for free, not planning to pay to watch it. There are a handful of shows I’d like to watch but can’t, for some reason … this is one I’d turn off the TV were it the best show on.

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