Television is a competitive business, and the stakes have only risen higher in recent years as streaming services continue pulling consumers away from traditional TV viewing. Americans in the valuable 18 - 34 demographic are getting more and more of their television via streaming on smart phones and tablets, and networks are growing desperate to launch their own streaming services. Fox is the first out of the gate with a revolutionary sweeping offer for consumers offering its primetime entertainment via live-stream on mobile devices.
Fox will be the first broadcaster to offer primetime programming streaming on a large scale at the same time as it airs on live television, and it is the only broadcaster out of 210 nationwide markets that will offer the digital streaming option as a simultaneous alternative to traditional viewing. The first show to be available for viewing via live-stream, according to Variety, will be tonight's episode of So You Think You Can Dance: The Next Generation at 8 p.m. ET.
Any pay-TV subscribers who have been authenticated will have access to Fox's streaming option. Content will be available on Fox.com and with the Fox Now app on iPhone, iPad, Android, Kindle Fire, Apple TV, and Google Chromecast. Fox is covering all of its bases with the new live-streaming service; if it kicks off without much of a hitch, the other networks could be in for a lot of trouble with comparatively outdated offerings for consumers who can't always find their way to a couch in front of a TV in time to catch a favorite show.
Of course, Fox won't have all of its programming available via Fox.com or the Fox Now app. Sports programming will not be offered to live-stream, so any folks who want to catch their teams in action in real time will need to watch via TV rather than computer or handheld device.
Streaming content via device rather than watching on a TV doesn't mean that Fox will be missing out on ad revenue. Commercials will be part of the live-streaming package, although they will differ from those shown on television during the primetime hours. Nielsen won't be getting any of the data from Fox's new service, but Fox will be paying close attention to the numbers on its own. Streaming platforms like Netflix and Amazon Prime have been stingy with Nielsen in the past, so Fox withholding numbers isn't a huge surprise.
It should be interesting to see if Fox's latest development will result in other networks scrambling to try and offer a similar live-streaming service. ABC and CBS have both tried on a smaller scale than what Fox is planning. NBC launched a streaming service, but the content available was not live and very limited. Fox is getting into streaming TV in a big way, and it may change how network TV is broadcast forever. Take a look at our fall TV premiere schedule to see what Fox will have to offer in primetime in the not-too-distant future.