Fox Broadcasting is encouraging pay-TV customers to demand that their providers participate in its "TV Everywhere" service, in a tactic reminiscent of campaigns surrounding retransmission-consent negotiations.
On Monday (Aug. 15), Fox stopped providing new episodes at Fox.com and Hulu.com for free to everyone the day after they air, making them available only to subscribers of participating "TV Everywhere" distributors (as well as Hulu Plus) for eight days following their TV premiere. So far, only Dish Network has an agreement with Fox for the authentication service.
Fox provides a brief notice ("Why Isn't My Provider Listed?") at its site explaining the change -- www.fox.com/watchnewepisodes -- as well as on "locked" episodes of shows in that eight-day window.
"Frustrated?" the Fox notice reads. "Join your fellow subscribers and let your TV provider know that you want access to all full episodes on FOX.com. We will send an email when your provider's status changes."
Visitors are invited to fill out their ZIP code, select their provider and enter their name and e-mail address to be notified when their provider has joined the Fox program.
A form letter -- which Fox purportedly will send to the provider selected -- reads: "Dear [Provider], I want to continue watching full episodes on FOX.com but you are not one of the participating providers. As a customer of [Provider] I want you to know that I expect to have access to these episodes included in my subscription."
Fox spokeswoman Gaude Paez said the broadcaster is "in talks with other distributors about the service" and that the company hopes to announce additional partners soon.
Fox is approaching the authenticated service as an extension of its retrans agreements. In some cases, Fox may be open to other arrangements, according to a source familiar with the company's strategy.
In October 2010, Dish and Fox reached a retransmission-consent agreement for more than two dozen owned-and-operated stations two days before their previous deal was set to expire. That came after Fox pulled more than 20 cable channels from Dish for nearly one month.
Several of Fox's most popular primetime shows don't debut until late September. The next season of Glee premieres Sept. 20, while The Simpsons debuts Sept. 25 and House bows Oct. 3.