Fox is to offer movies and television shows for download in the latest initiative from News Corporation in developing a broader online video strategy. It will see programming available for download from the phenomenally popular teenage site MySpace.
The movies and shows will delivered using the Direct2Drive system offered by IGN Entertainment, which News Corporation subsidiary Fox Interactive Media acquired in October 2005 for $650 million.
The programming will subsequently be offered on other Fox sites, including MySpace. Each site will use the same underlying technology, tailored with a different user experience. Sales will be limited to the United States.
New movies such as the latest X-Men title will be available at the same time as their release on DVD for about $20.
Television shows such as 24 and Prison Break will be available within 24 hours of broadcast for $1.99 an episode.
Twentieth Century Fox already sells its films on other movie download services. The integration with MySpace may demonstrate the ability of News Corp to exploit synergies between its media properties in a way that has so far eluded other major media corporations.
Through acquisitions such as IGN and MySpace, News Corp has access to a significant online audience that it aims to develop into a content distribution and advertising platform. Last week the group agreed a deal for Google to offer search and online advertising on MySpace.
Shows such as 24 have previously been available on MySpace. Some Fox shows are also sold on the iTunes music store, but can only be played on Apple iPods.
The Fox downloads will use Microsoft Windows Media format and digital rights management, limiting playback to two Windows computers, each supporting one portable device.
Unlike the latest download-to-burn service from CinemaNow, which uses a system known as fluxDVD, the material will not be playable in a standard DVD player.