Fox Broadcasting has brought AT&T U-verse into its slowly expanding authentication tent, with the telco’s video subs now able to watch full-length episodes of shows like New Girl and The Simpsons online and on mobile devices the day after they air on TV.
AT&T is the sixth pay TV partner to sign on for Fox’s TV Everywhere service, joining Dish Network, Verizon Communications, Mediacom Communications, Blue Ridge Communications and Cable One.
Fox moved to the TV Everywhere model in August 2011, initially with only Dish as a partner. Previously, the broadcaster had provided new episodes for free to everyone the day after they air on Fox.com and Hulu; now, however, fresh content is available exclusively to TVE partners for eight days.
AT&T U-verse subs gained access to the next-day content in the Fox Now app last week and on Fox.com on Monday, said Fox spokeswoman Gaude Paez. The telco plans to bring the next-day Fox content to Uverse.com and its U-verse apps, "but don’t have specific timing to share right now," an AT&T rep said.
Separately, starting Feb. 1, AT&T added a $1.99 “broadcast TV surcharge” to the monthly bill of U-verse TV customers nationwide. That’s to “recover a portion of the amount local broadcasters charge AT&T to carry their channels,” according to the telco’s FAQ on its 2013 price hikes.
Hulu has been a major outlet for Fox’s content online, and the TV Everywhere agreements extend to access on Hulu -- although the future direction of the Internet TV venture is up in the air.
In a blog post last week, departing CEO Jason Kilar announced the appointment of Hulu senior VP of content Andy Forssell as interim CEO. Forssell’s post is temporary as two of Hulu’s owners -- Walt Disney Co. and News Corp. -- “are currently finalizing their forward-looking plans with Hulu,” Kilar wrote. Comcast, the third stakeholder, is forbidden from operational oversight of Hulu under the terms of the FCC’s approval of its deal for NBCUniversal.
Meanwhile, Fox also has VOD agreements for next-day episodes with a larger set of providers, including Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Cox Communications, Cablevision Systems and Bright House Networks, as well as AT&T U-verse and Verizon FiOS.
Among other broadcasters, ABC has previously discussed plans for a “Watch ABC” app that would provide authenticated access to shows on multiple platforms. That would be similar to Disney's Watch ESPN and Watch Disney services, which are available through several pay TV operators. Watch ABC will include a live feed of national and local programming, The New York Times reported Monday.