News Corp. strikes Fox deal with affiliates

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NEW YORK - Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. said Thursday it struck a deal with its television affiliates not owned by the company to offer Fox TV shows to local broadcasters' Web sites for streaming or for sale.

The move to offer its programming to some 200 stations' Web sites helps ease tensions with TV station affiliates as big TV networks offer more of its programming online.

TV station affiliates had been concerned that moves by TV networks such as News Corp., which sell and stream hit shows online and on services like Apple Inc.'s iTunes digital media service, would rob local TV stations of viewers.

Under the agreement, News Corp.'s Fox would control 70% of the Web site's advertising inventory, with the rest being sold by local TV stations. Revenue from national advertisements sold by Fox will be shared with local TV station owners.

"This is the next logical step in our partnership as the affiliate body and network move forward into the digital age," said Joe Denk, Vice President and General Manager of KFXA-TV in Cedar Rapids, IA, and Chairman of the FOX affiliate board.

"We expect the affiliate body to look favorably on this important opportunity to better serve their communities' emerging digital needs," he said in a statement.

News Corp. has offered free streams of full-length Fox TV shows such as "24" and "Prison Break" on Web sites operated by the locally owned and operated Fox TV stations since October.
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