Fox News Expanding Online Video with Maven Networks Deal - Broadcasting & Cable

Fox News Expanding Online Video with Maven Networks Deal

Broadband-Video-Distribution System to Launch on All Fox News Web Sites, Including Upcoming Fox Business Network
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Fox News and Maven Networks, an Internet-TV-platform company, are teaming up on a new broadband-video-distribution system for the news network.

Fox News will roll out Maven’s technology companywide: All video content on Fox News Web sites, including FOXNews.com and the Web site for the upcoming Fox Business Network, will run on Maven’s platform.

“They will be using it to radically improve the user experience of their Web sites and make them a lot more video-centric than they are today,” Maven founder and CEO Hilmi Ozguc told B&C. “For instance, if you go to FOXNews.com, it is mostly text and pictures and some video. In the future, my expectation is that you will see something that is more like interactive TV -- very, very video-centric. Obviously there will be text articles and pictures and so forth, but video will be front and center, much more searchable, much faster, with more social-media capabilities built in.”

One of the goals of the deal is to make Fox News’ Web sites “stickier,” so that visitors to the sites will view multiple videos, instead of just one or two. The new system is designed to have improved navigation and organization of the content, so it will be able to find and link to videos related to the one the user is watching.

Maven’s platform allows media companies to maintain a library of footage available for syndication to affiliates or online media outlets, while keeping control of content and advertising with the client company. The vendor currently has deals with Sony BMG, Univision, IBM and Gemstar-TV Guide for their video-distribution platforms. News Corp. owned Fox News could provide the most visible stage yet for the five year-old company's technology.

The system in place for Fox News will be scaleable, allowing it to distribute breaking-news video to its partners in a timely manner. According to Ozguc, the content-management system was “designed for millions of video assets, millions of video transactions happening simultaneously, so it can handle anything from a few sites to hundreds, if not thousands, of sites that are simultaneously pulling video from Fox News, distributing it to a very large audience -- both Fox’s own, as well as their affiliates.”

Affiliates may be able to “brand” Maven players with their logo in addition to the Fox News/Fox Business logo, and the system allows the parent company to control who sells ads on the video, allowing more freedom to affiliates and online partners, while keeping control with Fox.

The deal comes at an important time in online-video distribution. While News Corp. and NBC Universal are gearing up to launch Hulu, their broadband entertainment-video site, the respective companies’ news footage has generally been stuck on the network Web sites, with some distribution on platforms such as iTunes.

By making video more integral to the sites, the hope is that viewers will make them a destination unto themselves. And with so much archival footage available from the 24-hour networks, the Web could be a good way to monetize the extra content.

“The popularity and demand for Fox News online-video content is enormous,” said Jeff Misenti, general manager and vice president of Fox News Digital. “Online video opens up an untapped and arguably limitless landscape of inventory for media companies looking to grow their advertising revenue, creating an extremely valuable opportunity for businesses today. It is critical for us to be on the cutting edge of innovation in Internet-video syndication, monetization and user experiences."

Fox News will launch the Maven technology on its sites in two weeks, right on time for the debut of FBN, set for Oct. 15.

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