Fox Interactive announced this morning that the first and second episodes of Warner Bros. Television’s THE O.C. this season will be available on MySpace and Fox affiliate sites as much as a week before they show on TV. A week after TV broadcast the shows will be taken back offline. Just like the last batch of shows that Fox said would be available on MySpace earlier this month, a downloadable player will be required to view the files; users will not be able to skip ads.
The last batch of shows made available on MySpace included titles like “Bones,” “Prison Break,” and “Standoff.” Readers here were highly critical of the caliber of shows being made available in that offering and today’s announcement may be more of the same. The O.C. is a show widely seen as going down hill fast. In June TV Squad wrote that Fox declined to purchase a full season of episodes and put those it did buy up against killer shows CSI and Grey’s Anatomy.
Making shows available online first is a good move to build web viewership, but is Fox still not getting it or are they not taking it seriously? Perhaps they take what so many people say about MySpace being lowest common denominator consumers seriously. Why put weak shows in a media experiment? Aren’t such experiments destined to fail? Why take the shows offline a week after they play on TV? Some long tail ad revenues would make sense. I’m sure they intend to take the shows offline so they can be resyndicated later to other TV stations or so reruns on TV can still command a high ad price. In some ways then, this is just a little toe being put in the water and the TV strategy remains the same it’s always been. We’ll know the web is being taken seriously as a platform when shows in high demand are put online and kept online.