Fox's first foray into making a live reality series accessible on demand is paying dividends with viewers.
Officials at Fox Networks, which last month began making full-length episodes of the Simon Cowell-led singing competition show The X Factor available to Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Bright House Networks and Cox Communications digital subscribers the day after they premiere on the network, indicate that the encore presentations are yielding record usage.
Although it would not disclose the figures, which are being tallied by Rentrak, Fox said the first three episodes of The X Factor now stand as the three most-viewed shows on a single day for any Fox program that has been available in the platform.
That's good news for Fox, which was looking to drive awareness, as well as live and on-demand viewing for The X Factor, and its affiliates that wanted the opportunity to present the series and other shows in the format.
"Conversations started back at NCTA [the National Show in June].They expressed a strong interest in having unique content," said Jamia Bigalow, senior vice president, distribution marketing, Fox Networks. "And we certainly value the overwhelming marketing support from our MVPD partners."
To that end, Bigalow said the MSOs' marketing support is touching on array of media, including cross-channel spots, a presence in the top-picks listings and on VOD barker channels. There are also direct-mail messaging and consumer emails, Facebook promos and editorial support, plus prominent placement on each provider's Web TV portal, plus Web banner promos.
"There have been Web banners, a number of interesting social media activities through Facebook and prominent placement on such vehicles as the Comcast Xfinity TV.com home page," she explained.
Along with building awareness, Bigalow says the airings within the VOD encore window that extends for three days after the premiere on the network -- X Factor's two-hour premiere debuted on Sept. 22 to some 12. 5 million linear watchers -- count toward the C3 ratings that Fox has sold against the show. X Factor features Paula Abdul, L.A. Reid and Nicole Scherzinger as judges, alongside the acerbic Cowell.
Short-form X Factor content is also available on VOD, online and via iPad.
Fox on Demand launched with Cox in August 2010, followed by Cablevision and Comcast last January and April, respectively. Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks came on board in August.
Among a sampling of the other shows that have been or are available on Fox On Demand: American Dad, Bob's Burgers, Bones, The Cleveland Show, Cops, Family Guy, Fringe, Glee, Hell's Kitchen, Kitchen Nightmares, Master Chef, New Girl, Raising Hope, The Simpsons and Terra Nova. Medical drama House is also available after an eight-day delay.
Fox also backed the bow of Zooey Deschanel's New Girl, which has been renewed for a sophomore season, with previews of the pilot on VOD, iTunes, Hulu and other sites, including the actress's hellogiggles.com. The New Girl debut episode was watched by more than 2 million people from Sept. 1-19, before scoring with 10 million watchers in its Sept. 20 Fox debut.
Fox also made a 2011-12 TV season preview available on-demand to its affiliates.
Bigalow says that Fox works with studios and producers to gain the VOD and promotional rights, each of which is a negotiation onto itself.
"Those are part of the conversations we have all the time. We're looking for opportunities," she said, adding that Fox wants to engage in more of these pursuits. "It's a case of walking before we run. We're open to doing similar things with these and other series next season."