News Corp's Fox To Offer Free Shows On Apple iTunes

Not to one to be out-flanked by NBC (GE) or ABC (DIS), News Corp’s (NWS) Fox unit will offer some of its most popular shows free on Apple (AAPL) iTunes.

According to the LA Times, it is “a move that highlights the TV industry’s race to harness the Internet and try out potential business partners.”

The new effort by Fox seems a bit misguided. The ability to watch first run TV on an iPod could actually pull audience away from TV viewership and put pressure on ad rates. The idea of charging some nominal fee, like $.99, would at least put a level of value on the shows.

Fox may be gambling that allowing the free downloads will promote TV viewership, by adding “buzz”. But, what consumer is going to check out the show on an iPod and then watch it on home television as well?

Douglas A. McIntyre

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