ABC and NBC were quick to offer their shows on iTunes, but Fox waited until it was sure the structure of the repurposing of content was in the best interests of the network and affiliates, Peter Levinsohn, president of Fox Digital Media, told Advertising Age.
The network recently reached an agreement with station affiliates to allow them to share the benefits of new-media initiatives. That deal also paves the way for Fox to make deals with Comcast to have its programming on the cable operators' video-on-demand platform. Comcast has already said it will soon have deals with ABC and Fox. It already offers shows from NBC and CBS. Fox also has VOD programming available on corporate sibling DirecTV.
"We obtained complete flexibility of the business model as well as the amount of content and the types of transmission, whether that be cable, satellite or Internet," Mr. Levinsohn said.
Mr. Levinsohn said a rumored deal to make parts of "American Idol" performances available online was close. "We'd love to do it but the rights haven't been cleared yet."
The iTunes deal puts 16 series on the downloading service this week, including "24," "Prison Break" and "The Shield." Shows from Fox, FX, Speed, FuelTV and the 20th Century Fox Television library are included.
90 shows on iTunes
The addition brings the number of TV shows on iTunes to 90, according to a statement from Apple. Each program will cost $1.99, the standard fee for video programming on iTunes.