Fox Is Now Live-Streaming Its Primetime Programming

EMPIRE: Time Shall Unfold - April 20 -H 2016
Chuck Hodes/FOX

Fox is not wading into the world of live-streaming. The broadcast network announced Monday that it will now stream all of its primetime programming on its website and Fox Now app in an effort to reach the widest possible audience.

Technically still in beta, the initiative kicks off Monday night with So You Think You Can Dance: The Next Generation — which will stream in all 210 U.S. TV markets. “From the start of the on-demand and over-the-top viewing revolution, Fox has been at the forefront of providing greater access to our buzz-defining shows, like Empire, Lucifer, Scream and Family Guy,” said Fox TV Group CEOs and chairmen Dana Walden and Gary Newman in a joint statement. “Adding nationwide primetime live streams is just another great example of how the Fox Digital Consumer Group, under Brian Sullivan’s leadership, is innovating to give viewers the convenience and flexibility to watch our programming whenever and wherever they want.”

It is certainly a first. Though CBS is making an aggressive play for live-streaming with its CBS All Access app, that service is still subscription-only and not available in every market. And while the Fox service won't require a separate subscription, it will require cable authentication. (That is to say, not just anyone can log in to the live-stream.)

In its initial rollout, the live stream will be available to more than 98 percent of all pay TV subscribers, with each of the top 10 domestic providers on board for the effort. The new live-streaming capability is also intended to enable Fox affiliates to dynamically insert local-market advertising and display station branding. Following Monday's debut, the rest of the Fox block will now stream as well — with summer series such as Wayward Pines and MasterChef followed by the full primetime lineup when it returns in the fall. Live Fox sports programming will stream on Fox Sports Go.

The move continues Fox's aggressive courting (and reporting) of a wider multiplatform audience. This past November, the network turned its back on live-plus-same day ratings reporting, noting that they no longer paint an accurate picture.